MANAGER John Barnes added some experience to Tranmere’s defensive resources by agreeing a deadline day deal with Marlon Broomes.
The 31-year-old centre-back signed a season-long deal last night after spending the last month at Prenton Park on a non-contract basis.
Broomes, who has Premier League experience with Blackburn, also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke and Blackpool, who released him at the end of last season.
He won two England under-21 caps during his days at Ewood Park and has more than 230 senior games under his belt.
The signing means Tranmere now boast three specialist centre-backs on the books in Broomes, Jamaican international Ian Goodison, 36, and first-year pro Ash Taylor, 18.
Broomes made only one senior appearance while working with Tranmere on a non-contact basis, in the Carling Cup first round victory over Grimsby Town.
Barnes said: “Marlon is good around the dressing room and has good qualities so I had no fears about that. I did not necessarily have to see Marlon play in the first team or the reserves because I know what he has. He has been catching up with his fitness.”
Tranmere should discover over the next few days whether they have the option of extending the loan of Gavin Gunning from Blackburn.
The 18-year-old Irish international has been at Prenton Park on a month-long release and played in all five league games last month. He did not have permission from Blackburn to play in the Carling Cup ties against Grimsby and Bolton.
Tranmere, having completed the August fixture card with a couple of heavy defeats to leaders Charlton Athletic and Leeds United, face a run of games in September that will test Barnes’s team against opponents whose depth of resources and financial strength are closer to their own.
A game at Carlisle United on Saturday is followed by a home clash with Walsall on September 12, a long trip to Exeter City on September 19, a home encounter with Colchester United on September 26 and a visit to Wycombe Wanderers on September 29.
Tranmere followers should have a clearer idea about the team’s development at the end of that sequence.
And they’ll be hoping to see them climb the table and move clear of their current spot – third from bottom.
The immediate priority for Barnes, however, is to lift his players’ spirits and morale after conceding seven goals without reply to Charlton and Leeds.
The disappointing thing for me is the way we played against the two top teams,” Barnes said.
“We are going into the next game now with no confidence. We are going to have to get the players’ confidence back, individually and collectively, in training this week.
“It’s not nice thinking about your next game having lost the last one 4-0 but it would not surprise me if we go to Carlisle and play well. It’s going to be a hard game and it is about us having belief, desire and organisation.”
Barnes is attempting to convince his players that they should have faith in their ability to play the pass-and-move system he introduced at Prenton Park this season.
But he says he is also looking for more effort and commitment in their defensive work.
“It is so important, how we play when we are out of possession,” Barnes said.
“We have to work harder. We have to stop crosses coming in. That comes down to individuals. Forget about tactics, systems and style. It is about individuals saying: ‘I am going to make a tackle, I am going to win a header, I am going to stop that cross coming in’.”