JOHN BARNES insists teamwork rather than team changes has to be the key factor in Tranmere’s battle to turn around a grim start to the League One campaign.
The Prenton Park boss now boasts a squad of more than 20 professionals after recruiting strikers Michael Ricketts and Kithson Ben, midfielder Seb Carole and defender Marlon Broomes since the start of the season.
He gave his starting line-up a reshuffle in last weekend’s outing at Exeter City but was left counting the cost of a seventh defeat in eight league games.
Barnes said: “It is the way we play as a team as opposed to bringing in individual players that really matters.
“It does not really matter who you bring in if you are not going to play well as a team and pass the ball as a team.”
Barnes added: “If you look at us as individuals, we are not the biggest side in the league, not the strongest, not the quickest. So therefore we have to play as a team.
“I don’t think we can rely on individuals to win us a game. We don’t have that kind of player here.
“Yes, we can make team changes and we did make a few last Saturday. But the most important thing is how we are going to perform as a team, the way we use our system and strategy rather than saying changing individuals is going to make us better.”
Barnes concedes that while he has the scope to try fresh faces in the forward positions, options for change in defence are limited.
He said: “We have a larger squad in certain positions – but not at the back. We have a lot of strikers now, Kithson Bain, Terry Gornell, Craig Curran, Josh Macauley, Ian Thomas-Moore and Michael Ricketts with Bas Savage to come back in the New Year.
“But at the back we’ve just got Ash Taylor, who could come into last Saturday’s team, or we can tinker with playing Gareth Edds at right-back with Shaleum Logan just in front of him.”
Barnes is desperate to cut out the lapses and errors that have been costing Rovers goals in every game through a miserable run of six League One defeats.
“We have changed the personnel in the team and we are still leaking goals,” he said. “We are still not as tight as I would like at the back and that’s really down to individuals.
“The goals we conceded at Exeter had nothing to do with tactics or systems. It was down to individual errors and bad luck.”
“I keep stressing to the players about the concentration levels that are necessary. That is why I like to train as we play. I like the concentration in training to be right,” added Barnes.
Meanwhile, Barnes is confident goalkeeper Luke Daniels will be available for Saturday’s home clash with Colchester after missing the Exeter trip with a gashed knee.