THE spirit in the Tranmere Rovers dressing room is standing up to the strain of a six-game losing streak, manager Les Parry believes.
Parry says he hasn’t been faced with the problem of falling morale among his players as they prepare for Christmas holiday home games against Rochdale on Boxing Day and Bury four days later.
“The spirit Šin the dressing room is still there, there’s no doubt about that,” Parry said.
“I know you hear other managers in similar situations saying the dressing room spirit is as good as when they were winning – but that is never going to be the case.
“When you are on the back of a few defeats, there has to be a difference. If there isn’t a difference, there is something wrong.
“Here there is a slight difference in the dressing room. It’s not quite as buoyant as it was. That is just human nature.
“But the spirit is still there. The lads are still together. They are still all pulling in the same direction. And they all know that Christmas is the perfect time to turn things around.”
By the time Tranmere go into action against Rochdale, it will be two months since they Šlast posted a victory, a 2-0 success in the league at Hartlepool on October 25.
Parry said: “It is easy to show character when you are on the back of three wins. It is easy to show team spirit when you were on the back of three wins and it is easy to work hard when you are on the back of three wins.
“Now we are on the back of four league defeats and six defeats in all; it is time for the players and the coaching staff to stand up and be counted.”
Tranmere’s attempts to pull out of a slump in form is not just focused on the training ground – they are using the latest computer technology to support the effort as well.
Parry has taken delivery of some new software that enables the coaching staff to analyse specific aspects of games in close detail in a classroom setting at ŠPrenton Park.
The sophisticated technology is used regularly by Premier League clubs who often call on specialist staff to support the presentation.
At Tranmere the system is loaded into manager Parry’s laptop computer and projected onto a screen in the former players’ canteen.
This week the focus is on the goals Tranmere have been conceded from set plays during the run of six defeats that saw them slide down the League One table and bow out of two cup competitions over the last two months.
Parry explained: “We have a piece of software that enables us to identify, for instance, free-kicks and corners against. We can go back over the last four or five games. We can drag out incidents from the DVDs of those games and have a close look at them.
“We can see if there is a recurring theme in the way we are conceding the goals. The software is a massive database and it’s a lot easier than trawling through the individual games.ŠWe do it ourselves here. You can get it done by people outside, but that would be too expensive for us.”
Rovers can’t afford to call on as much technological support as most Premier League clubs enjoy but Šthey are taking big strides forward since Parry became manager of just over two years ago.
Parry said: “Lot of Premier League clubs have people sitting at cameras covering the games as they go on.
“Some Premier League clubs have 13 cameras and they are able to calculate information like how far players have run and how quickly they have run. Our DVDs usually come off one camera. It is a bit limited but it’s a lot better than what we’ve been doing in the past.”
Parry began the process of dragging Tranmere into the 21st century soon after taking charge of team affairs in October 2009.
Within a couple of months the long-serving physiotherapist-turned manager introduced some of the most up-to-date match preparation methods Prenton Park had ever seen.
Players were able to study the opposition and their own performances in carefully-edited DVDs projected onto a screen at team meetings.
Parry did the whole, Štime-consuming job on his own but now the new software makes the preparation much quicker.