Jason Mooney hoping to get the nod for York City's opener at Tranmere Rovers

Jason Mooney is hoping to get the nod in the opener at his old club Tranmere Rovers. Picture:  Gordon Clayton

Jason Mooney is hoping to get the nod in the opener at his old club Tranmere Rovers. Picture: Gordon Clayton

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JASON Mooney will be out to make a point if he lines up against his former club Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

York City's 6ft 81/2in goalkeeper will be returning to Prenton Park less than three months after leaving the Wirral club.

During two years with Rovers, Mooney made just four senior appearances, as he played second fiddle to Wales squad member Owain Fon Williams.

Now, the 25-year-old Irishman is itching to illustrate why he should have been given more opportunities by his old employers.

On that prospect, he said: "Obviously, you want to prove people wrong. I don't think I got many chances there and that was probably down to the keeper ahead of me, but I have got to go and prove to people now that maybe I should have got a chance and we will see what happens.

"It doesn't worry me, though. I will be happy to go back and see some of my old friends.

"I've no bad memories of Tranmere, so it will be a nice time to go back, as long as we get a win."

Mooney actually had a premonition that his former team could be paired with his new club in the SkyBet League Two's curtain-raising fixture programme.

"I had it in my head that Tranmere would come out," he recalled. "I was sitting there with my dad and saying it would be funny if we got Tranmere and, the longer I looked down the list, I couldn't see either team and then, obviously, we got down to it."

Mooney was one of eight players to leave Tranmere over the summer.

Other notable departures saw Ryan Lowe, Ian Goodison, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and ex-Minsterman Evan Horwood all move on.

Six new faces - Eliot Richards, Matt Gill, Michael Ihiekwe, Kayode Odejayi, Marcus Holness and Marc Laird - have been brought in, meanwhile, but Mooney reckons two players from last season's relegated squad still demand close attention.

One is an up-and-coming, 20-year-old rookie striker with five league goals to his name despite only starting seven matches, the other is a well-known veteran midfielder with 34 international caps for Wales and Premier League experience.

Outlining his old club's threats, the City shot-stopper added: "Cole Stockton got a few games last season but didn't really get a good chance in the team.

"He could do this season maybe with the club having come down. He has a great shot on him and he's very strong up front.

"If he's starting, I will be telling our centre backs about him. They've also got a couple of decent midfielders.

"You obviously don't need to say too much about Jason Koumas and I would be very wary of him from set-pieces. You don't want to be giving free kicks away around the box with him around."

Mooney has also told his Bootham Crescent team-mates to expect a battle on the north-west coast, where their hosts are unlikely to be damaged by last term's travails.

"They have a good work ethic and always fight hard in a game," the ex-Ards and Wycombe net-minder warned. "If you are 1-0 or 2-0 up against them in the last ten or 15 minutes, you can't relax thinking they will give in.

"If you are looking for a weakness, they conceded a lot of goals last season, but I couldn't really pinpoint what contributed to that and I don't think there's any reason that they would carry a hangover into this season. Everyone there is quite positive in their thinking.

"Obviously, morale at the end of last season was terrible. There were tears on the pitch on the last game but they have young players who are looking to move forward and not dwell on last season."

Tranmere are being tipped for a mid-table finish by bookmakers, below the other teams relegated from League One, who they finished higher than in 2013/14.

Mooney reckons that represents a modest assessment of their potential, saying: "That's probably about right or maybe higher.

"I don't know what the new lads that have come in are like but, having spoken to the boys I know, they feel pre-season is going well. I wish the ones I know all the best but there will be two games I don't want them to win this season."

Despite plying his trade in England for the last three campaigns, Mooney has only ever played senior football at Prenton Park with his quartet of outings for Tranmere all coming in home fixtures.

On his thoughts of the venue as a place to welcome in the new season, he said: "It's always a good atmosphere there. I was always on the right side of that but, now, I will have to see what reaction I get if I'm playing.

"Every Football League game I have ever played was at Prenton Park so I thought moving to York would be my first game away from there but, strangely, that might not be the case."


Match facts

YORK City have generally been slow starters when new seasons have got under way - winning only four of their 11 matches in the decade between the 2003/4 season and 2013/14.

Five of those 11 games were losses, the last of those coming as City went down 3-1 to Wycombe at home on their return to League Two on August 18, 2012.

City’s home record during that period has been mixed at best - one win, two draws and three defeats coming from six season openers at Bootham Crescent.

But away from home, City have travelled relatively well, winning two of their last three matches when they have begun a new term on the road.

Jason Walker scored twice as York began 2011/12 with a 2-1 win at Ebbsfleet and a 2-1 loss at Oxford where Richard Brodie scored in 2009/10 was preceded by a three-point haul at Crawley.

Under manager Nigel Worthington, the side have won on the only occasion they have started a new campaign with the former Northern Ireland boss in charge.

That was 12 months ago when, on August 3, 2013, Ryan Jarvis fashioned a 90th-minute winner as City beat Northampton 1-0 in front of a crowd of 4,388 at Bootham Crescent.

Only twice in the last 11 opening games have York scored more than one goal in their first match - the victory over Ebbsfleet and at Carlisle in 2003.

On this day

YORK started life under new manager Chris Brass on August 9, 2003, in the best possible fashion with a 2-1 win at Carlisle United.

Goals from the two Lees - Bullock and Nogan, in front of a crowd of 7,261, secured three points in division three. Brass was sent off though City went on to win their first four games.

The team was: Ovendale, Edmondson, Merris, Wise, Brass, Hope, Ward, Dunnington, Nogan, Bullock and Fox.

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