MANAGER Les Parry has paid tribute to Tranmere Rovers’ miserly defence – and says goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams has been one of his shrewdest ever signings.
The Prenton Park side have conceded just 11 goals in npower League One this season and have kept eight clean sheets in all competitions since August.
Summer signing Owain Fon Williams has been at the heart of Rovers’ tight rearguard and Parry admits he feared missing out on the Welshman in the summer.
But the Tranmere manager is delighted they remained in the chase for the former Stockport County stopper, who penned a two-year deal with the Wirral club in July, and Parry believes any successful side must have a reliable last line of defence
“Owain has been fantastic and one of my best signings,” said Parry, whose side lie 11th in the standings.
“I already knew him well and so knew what he was capable of. I didn’t think we’d get him in the summer if I’m honest.
“But we stuck at it but had another couple of keepers in the background, dangling, while we waited for him to make a decision. He has been a great signing.
“Goalkeeper is such an important position and I don’t think you win anything without a decent keeper.
“We have a history of good goalkeepers here.
“Clubs can’t carry as many keepers as they used to.
“There are times when loads of clubs are looking for goalkeepers and equally, times when goalkeepers are looking for clubs.
“Fortunately for us it was the latter this summer.”
Parry will be hoping Fon Williams can make it nine shut-outs for the campaign this weekend when Walsall are the visitors to Prenton.
But the manager says the fearless mentality of his outfield players means Tranmere will put their bodies on the line in order to protect Fon Williams’ goal.
Parry reckons word of Rovers’ newfound dogged spirit is quickly spreading throughout the division with many sides making tactical switches when up against Tranmere.
“We are more street wise than last season and I think that shows in that we’ve got more clean sheets than any other club in the country, and that includes the Premier League,” said Parry.
“It is down to how dogged the lads have become and though other teams are having possession and chances but we’re getting in the last ditch tackles and blocks.
“What I have tried to instil in the lads is that we are not frightened of anybody. We don’t change our system, it does not matter who we are up against.
“By doing that I’m saying to the lads all the time that we are not frightened of anybody and let them change for us.
“Even the likes of Charlton Athletic, who were unbeaten in eight games when we played them, changed for us.
“They changed two of the 11 players from the previous game and we are finding that all the time so we must take that as a real compliment.”
Colin Webster, meanwhile, has been named as the referee for the weekend’s game with Walsall.
Webster was last in charge of Rovers in last season’s 4-2 win at home to MK Dons.