LES PARRY is ready to fill a key vacancy in his Tranmere squad by agreeing a deal with powerful striker Enoch Showunmi. The six-foot-five target man is expected to sign today after completing a medical.
Showunmi, 28, who boasts more than 200 appearances for Luton Town, Bristol City, Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United, became a free agent this summer after being released by Falkirk.
The Nigerian international played 21 games in Falkirk’s unsuccessful fight to avoid relegation from the Scottish Premier League last season.
Manager Parry has been looking for a tall and strong, traditional centre-forward to provide an alternative to the lighter-weight attacking players currently in the squad. Showunmi and MK Dons’ Jabo Ibehre were his top targets.
Parry said: “We need a physical presence up front and hopefully Enoch is going to provide that. Enoch was one of our top two choices. The decision was made for us when MK Dons said they did not want to let Ibehre go.”
Showunmi has been lined up to play 45 minutes in Tranmere’s pre-season friendly against Chester at the Deva Stadium this evening (7.00).
London-born Showunmi was a late starter in League football. He was 21 when he joined Luton from part-timers Williston Constantine in September 2003. By that time he had a business degree at London South Bank University.
Showunmi played 111 games for Luton, scoring 15 goals, before moving on to Bristol City in 2006. He was released by City in May 2008 after scoring 18 goals in 61 appearances. He also played 10 games on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.
A move to Leeds in the summer of 2008 did not deliver the regular first-team football Showumni was hoping for and he was released on a short-term contract to Falkirk.
Showunmi’s signing clears the path for Parry to complete the recruitment of players for the 2010/11 campaign.
He explained: “We now know how much we have left in the budget to sign the players we need to bring us up to strength. We have been looking at people to provide competition and cover up front, in midfield and in defence. They are generally going to be young players.
“We have been holding back on the second striker because we did not know how much we would have left in the budget.”
Nick Wood, a 19-year-old defender who impressed in the friendlies against Nottingham Forest and Mansfield Town last week, is to be offered a deal. Parry said: “We are hoping to get him signed.”
Matt Hollyoak, a 21-year-old full-back who has been playing his football in the USA, is to have a second trial game at Chester after completing 90 minutes at Mansfield.
But Bakary Bojang, a front man who had been playing in the Danish top-flight with Odense last season, has departed after three trial appearances for Tranmere.
Parry said: “It was difficult to see Bakary adding to what we already have. You can do things in spells but we need a bit more consistency.”
Tranmere are fulfilling a pledge made by Parry to the group of supporters who reformed Chester from the ashes of the collapsed Chester City last season. The new club will be playing their football in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Manager Neal Young is assisted by the former Tranmere favourite Gary Jones.
Parry said: “This is an important game for us because we have players who need minutes on the field. It’s an important game for the fans as well. Chester have always been our nearest rivals. When they said they were trying to form a phoenix club we were only too pleased to play a game against them.
“So I hope there is a decent crowd, well-behaved, and we can help get some money into the new club.”