Micky Mellon is satisfied with the development he has seen in his Tranmere side in recent weeks but expects a tough examination from visitors Crawley Town on Saturday.

Rovers played out a 0-0 stalemate with table-toppers Forest Green Rovers in their last outing but have started to show evidence of a gelled side in the past month and have only conceded three league goals all season.

But speaking in his weekly pre-match press conference video call, the Scot played down suggestions that he had now struck upon a winning formula.

He said: "Do you ever really get to that place where you say I've cracked it now? It don't think that ever arrives. You're always trying to make it better and find that consistency. The jobs always on-going.

"It takes time to build relationships, but we're in a good place. I'm not going to put pressure on ourselves and say that we haven't got good players here. We have.

"The environment is fantastic to work in and the boys are a great group to spend time with everyday."

Rovers have picked up four points in their last two matches against credible promotion rivals Salford City and Forest Green Rovers, but with no midweek game to worry about this week, Mellon is pleased that they have been able to have good preparation ahead of the visit of John Yems' side to Prenton Park this weekend.

He said: "We've had a good week. We've managed to have a behind-closed-doors match for some lads who maybe needed minutes in their legs and we got some valuable mind-rest time for the lads who have been going Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday and getting the ready to go for another period of the same."

With the exception of long-term absentee Scott Davies, Mellon can select from a full-fit squad on Saturday, but he will be without dynamic full-back Calum MacDonald who will miss the match after picking up two yellow cards at The New Lawn against Forest Green.

And Rovers boss Mellon conceded that it was a disruption to his plans.

He said: "It's very frustrating and we just wish that referees would think more about trying to keep players on the pitch than get them off so quickly.

"I think football as a game of eleven v eleven and we need to think about ways of keeping it that way for the good of the game.

"I understand that there's rules, but lets trying keep players on the pitch and keep it healthy.

"I like watching games with players sent off unless its absolutely necessary. With Calum MacDonald's (sending off) - it was an honest attempt to get the ball. He's been booked for mistiming a tackle. Let's try and keep players on the pitch."

Opponents Crawley currently sit eighth in the League Two table - five places above Tranmere - but Rovers can leapfrog the The Reds with a home win.

Boasting a watertight defence, Rovers have only lost once in their last five matches but Mellon accepts that the task on Saturday will be a difficult one.

He added: "This is a tough league. The standard of football that's getting played in this league is as good as I've ever seen.

"Some of the passing and the movement and the standard of players is as good as it's ever been since I've been a manager.

"We're coming up against some really good sides. I expect the same on Saturday. You're getting a group of players now that are coming through from academies and are playing consistent football at this level. They've been brought up to play in this way.

"Teams are full of them. My team's full of ex-academy players who have been brought up to pass from the back and know how to handle a football and press and know about organisation.

"Saturday will be no different. It will be a tough game."