MANAGER Les Parry reckons he is strengthening his Tranmere squad with a tried and trusted player and character by bringing Chris McCready back to Prenton Park.
The 28-year-old centre-back signed a loan deal from Northampton Town yesterday that runs until the end of the season.
McCready, who hails from Ellesmere Port, made 47 league and cup appearances for Rovers during the 2006/07 season and has been recruited for a second time to strengthen the thin defensive cover in the squad.
Parry recalls the solid centre-back partnership McCready established with Ian Goodison three years ago.
“When Chris was here last time he and Ian Goodison struck up a great relationship,” Parry said. “Their goals against average was better than any other defensive partnership we had at the time.
“I had a word with Ian Goodison before I brought Chris in, and he thought it was a great move.
“Chris is experienced and he is an exemplary professional. He is forever in the gym and gets on with the young lads. I want to build a bit of a family here with people who look out for each other.
“I do not want any bad eggs in the place who upset that and Chris will just add to the family.”
Parry revealed McCready had been close to joining Tranmere in the summer, following his release by Crewe.
“He was training with us for three weeks and John Barnes was looking to sign him,” Parry explained. “But Northampton came in and made a firm offer.
“They wanted an answer straight away and John Barnes was not able to give him an offer straight away, so he had to accept Northampton’s.”
However, the change of manager at the Sixfields Stadium, with Ian Sampson replacing Stuart Gray in September, saw McCready drop out of favour with the Cobblers. Sampson made McCready available after failing to pick him for a first-team game since the end of November
Parry, armed with a “modest pot” of funds released by the board of directors this week, made his first move in the January transfer window by securing a deal on terms that were attractive to Tranmere.
Parry said: “Northampton have done well for us on the financial side. We would not have been able to afford him without their help.”
The current squad includes just two specialist centre-backs, Goodison and Marlon Broomes, plus teenage prospect Ash Taylor, who is alternating between centre-half and central midfield roles.
Parry added: “We have strengthened in that area now and I’m happy with what we’ve got. I’ve had a word with (chief scout) Dave Philpotts and everything is now focused on finding a striker.”
McCready can’t be sure of getting into Tranmere’s first-team frame in the game at MK Dons tomorrow. Rovers kept a sixth clean sheet in 10 games in the goalless draw at Oldham in midweek, so Parry is likely to start with an unchanged back line.