TRANMERE will this week ask neighbours Everton if they can extend Jose Baxter’s loan spell into a third month.
The talented teenager is due to complete his second month with Rovers in the League One game at Exeter City on Saturday – and has delighted manager Les Parry with his contribution so far.
But Tranmere will need to get the approval of Everton manager David Moyes and the paperwork signed by Thursday if they want to keep Baxter at the creative heart of their attacking play through December.
After Thursday, Football League clubs will be unable to make loan signings – other than goalkeepers – until the January transfer window opens.
Parry said: “We need to get moving on this because of the transfer deadline so I will be talking to David Moyes and seeing what we can do.
“Jose’s done really well for us and that is why I would like to try and keep him. I don’t think there is any doubt that he has developed as a player in the time he has been here.
“Having the experience of playing to a level of competitiveness he is not used to has got to improve him, and it has.
“He has taken on board what we’ve asked them to do. We don’t want him to stand in the middle of the park and spray passes around. We’ve asked him to put in a little bit of work as well and he has responded brilliantly.”
Baxter notched his third goal in nine Tranmere appearances in the 2-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday. The game marked his return to the side following a three-match suspension.
The 19-year-old, initially recruited to replace the injured Andy Robinson in the “role in the hole” slot just behind the striker, played alongside Robinson for the first time against Wednesday.
Parry said: “Jose’s performance was really indicative of how much he enjoys playing here. He could not wait to get into the game, could not wait to put himself about. The work he put in was just brilliant.
“The reason Jose and Andy can work together well is they are both willing to put a shift in. If they did not work as hard as they do, it might be more difficult.
“We took Andy off near the end against Sheffield Wednesday because he was running on empty. He put so much work in. The midfield role Andy played is probably a bit more difficult than the hole role.”
Baxter, Parry says, is taking the knocks as he discovers that League One football can be a greater physical challenge than the kind of games he will have played for Everton’s reserve team.
“Jose is getting kicked a lot more than he’s used to in Premier League reserve team football,” Parry said.
“He was put up in the air a couple of times last Saturday. But Jose can look after himself.”
Even so, Baxter’s ability to play perceptive long and short passes with his first touch mark him out as a rare talent in English football’s third tier.
Parry said: “Jose sees a passed before the ball arrives at his feet. That’s what class players are able to do. A top-class striker will make his move before the ball is played in. He is already in position and other players are asking: how did he get there? The answer is he saw it happening before the ball was played.
“It’s the same with Jose with a pass. He’s got the picture in his head before the ball has even arrived to him. He hit two or three cross-field balls which fell into that category last Saturday and when he does that we just look at each other in the dugout and say: what a great ball that was!”