TRANMERE manager Les Parry aims to add more flesh to the framework of his squad by the time the programme of summer friendlies gets underway.
New arrivals could be signing into Prenton Park this week to join the 14 professionals who began pre-season training work on Monday.
Rovers have been linked to Huddersfield Town’s Republic of Ireland under 21 international James Berrett and to Manchester City goalkeeper Gunnar Nielson.
Berrett is contracted to Huddersfield until 2012 but was made available for transfer by manager Lee Clark this summer after making only three first-team starts, plus nine appearances off the bench, last season. Halifax-born Berrett, 21 is a product of the Terriers’ youth development system and boasts a total of 41 senior games for Huddersfield.
Nielson boasts two international caps for the Faroe Islands and has been attempting to make the breakthrough into Premier League football for several years.
He joined Blackburn Rovers in 2007 but had to be content with reserve team football and loan spells at Scottish Premier League club Motherwell and later Wrexham, where he played four games towards the end of the 2008/09 Conference season.
Nielson moved to Manchester City last summer where he made one Premier League appearance, in a goalless draw at Arsenal in April.
City may be prepared to release Nielson on a season-long loan to Tranmere in order to give the 24-year-old prolonged exposure to the English game.
Parry said: “I’m hoping to have most of the squad in place by the time we start playing the pre-season games. We’ve got our first in-house game a week on Saturday and I would like to think we will just be looking to put the finishing touches to the squad by then.
“We are trying to finalise the signing of a midfielder this week and we are close to taking a striker as well. We are talking to several front players. The loan signing of a keeper from the Premier League is almost finalised and if that comes off it will be terrific. Even if there was a last-minute hitch, there are a number of keepers out there looking for clubs.”
Four trialists join Tranmere’s squad for the start of pre-season work this week and two more will arrive next week.
Recruitment has been slow among the majority of League One and League Two clubs so far this summer. Many clubs will be operating with small squads of little more than 20 permanent professionals.
Budgets are being cut as clubs attempt to keep operating losses under control and in general terms the pay packages on offer to the hundreds of players looking for contracts this summer are not as generous as they were a few years ago.
Parry said: “I keep looking at the list of transfers that have been done this summer and it has been quiet so far. Everyone, clubs, managers, players and agents is looking for the best deal they can get.
“Once we, as a club, identify a target and offer him a wage, the player knows he has that in his back pocket so he can afford to hold out a little bit longer in the hope that someone else will come along and offer him a bit more.
“But I think you will see a lot of movement soon, as players see they may not get a club at all and start to panic.”
Meanwhile Tranmere’s League One away fixture with Hartlepool has been brought forward by 24 hours and will now take place on Good Friday April 22 at Victoria Park, with a 3pm kick-off.