MANAGER John Barnes admits he’s having to “go back to the drawing board” as he attempts to fill the defensive vacancies in his Tranmere squad.
At least one of the centre-backs Barnes had lined up for a loan move to Prenton Park this summer won’t be coming because the circumstances at his club have changed.
That’s left Rovers worryingly thin on cover at the back as they prepare for the League One campaign kick-off at Yeovil.
Barnes said: “Players we expected to come in won’t be coming now, unfortunately. So we have to go back to the drawing board. It is a frustrating situation but it is something I did anticipate at the start of the preseason.
“When we identified players we wanted on loan we knew we were not guaranteed to get them. At the last minute we can’t have them – and that’s the frustrating part. We still need to bring in some defenders this week.”
Rovers called in Brian Saah, the former Leyton Orient defender, to play centre-back in the 1-1 draw with Shrewsbury Town over the weekend -- the final game of the pre-season programme.
Saah has been hired on a short-term basis and Barnes says he will be with the club “for a few more days.”
Rovers officials hope Ian Goodison will be reporting back to Prenton Park today after missing most of the pre-season programme because of international commitments in Jamaica. The 36-year-old centre back’s return to the UK was also delayed by the issue of a new passport.
However, Goodison won’t be available for the game at Yeovil because he must complete a four-match suspension hanging over from the end of last season. The versatile Gareth Edds will also be unavailable through suspension as a result of his dismissal in the final game of the 2008/09 campaign at Scunthorpe in May.
That leaves Tranmere with just one specialist centre-back – 18-year-old Ash Taylor.
Barnes said: “Brian Saah came in on Friday night and did okay against Shrewsbury because he had not played with us before. Brian is with us for a few days and we will have a look at the situation.”
“Is difficult to work with the team on shape and pattern when you have not got a couple of central defenders. We are still rusty at the back and gave some stupid opportunities to Shrewsbury but we were not as open as we were in the game at Morecambe.”