TRANMERE ROVERS may have to turn to neighbours Liverpool to help ensure they have an experienced goalkeeper between the posts for the opening game of the new season.
Boss Les Parry is concerned about a thigh injury that has prevented new signing Owain Fon Williams from playing in any of Rovers’ pre-season friendlies so far this summer.
With two weeks to go before the League One campaign kicks-off, Parry remains hopeful that Fon Williams will overcome the problem. But he has put a contingency plan in place.
Parry said: “I have already spoken to Liverpool about loaning us a goalkeeper if the worst comes to the worst and Owain isn’t ready.”
First-year professional Andy Coughlin has played in all four of Tranmere’s pre-season friendlies so far. Parry says he is encouraged by the progress of the 18-year-old but is reluctant to expose him to the pressures of playing in the opening game of the new season.
Parry added: “Owain’s injury has meant more opportunities for Andy Coughlin. Andy has done well but I can’t throw him into the first team at the beginning of the season.”
Fon Williams, a Wales under-21 international with previous experience at Crewe Alexandra, Stockport County and Rochdale, was Parry’s top target for the goalkeeping position this summer.
Parry added: “We need to try and make sure we start the season with our first choice goalkeeper and that’s why we are being extra careful with him. The other side of the coin is he needs to start bedding in with the back four in front of him. We would not really want his first game to be against Chesterfield but if we bring in a loan goalkeeper, his first game will be against Chesterfield as well.”
Coughlin will continue to pull on the gloves when Tranmere take a first team line-up to Altrincham tomorrow.
Parry will be honouring a promise to play his strongest possible side in a benefit game for Altrincham’s long-serving Mark Maddox, who is suffering from life-threatening motor neuron disease. Liverpool-born Maddox, 38, is close to playing 350 games for Altrincham after joining them from Sunday league football in 1996.
Parry said: “I’m delighted we are able to do something for someone who has played 350 games for Altrincham. He deserves all the support he can get.”