TRANMERE will be taking an improvised attack into League One action at Yeovil Town tomorrow as they deal with the fallout from two fresh injury blows likely to keep Andy Robinson and Enoch Showunmi on the sidelines for a month or more.
Playmaker Robinson underwent knee surgery after damaging his cartilage in training this week, while new scans on Enoch Showunmi’s leg have shown up a problem in the area where the tall target man sustained a fracture last April.
Unless manager Les Parry can force through a loan signing at express speed, Rovers will have to make do and mend at Huish Park, where they will be attempting to break a sequence of four successive away defeats.
Parry said: “Andy Robinson has had an operation on his knee. He tore the cartilage this week.
“It is a bit of a blow for us because he’s going to be out for four to six weeks. I’m hoping it will be four weeks but it’s more likely to be six.
“We had the results of Enoch’s scan and it is not good news. He still has a little problem in that leg and it looks like he is not going to be available for a number of weeks.”
Robinson would have been hoping for a recall to the starting line-up at Yeovil, in the creative attacking role left open by Jose Baxter’s return to Everton last weekend.
Showunmi’s latest setback simply adds to the pressure on Tranmere to find a central striker to back up Mustafa Tiryaki, who has been leading the line in recent games in the absence of last season’s leading marksman.
The 24-year-old is learning to adapt his game to the demands of League One football after joining Tranmere from nonleague Havant and Waterlooville last summer.
Tiryaki started Tranmere’s last game, the 2-2 draw against Brentford at Prenton Park last Saturday and Parry said: “He put in a really good shift. He was running on empty for the last 15 minutes but he had to stay on because we had no-one to replace him.
Parry has the option of switching Lucas Akins from wide on the right to the central striker’s role but he does not have a player who is a natural fit for the creative “role in the hole” that was so well suited to the talents of Robinson and Baxter.
Yeovil’s line-up could also be subject to some upheaval. New manager Gary Johnson has warned he plans to make changes to the team and the squad after taking charge of team affairs at the start of the week.
Johnson is working alongside depose manager Terry Skiverton, who has agreed to be his assistant. The arrangement is not so unusual in that Skiverton was captain of the Yeovil side that Johnson guided from the Conference to League One during his first spell in charge at Huish Park. The new partnership watched Yeovil lose 4-0 at highflying Sheffield United on Tuesday, a result that left the Glovers in the relegation zone
Johnson acknowledges he may not be able to make changes in personnel quickly and Parry admits the new faces Tranmere require may not arrive as quickly as he wants them to.
Parry said: “However urgent we perceive our situation today, the parent clubs of the players we are trying to get don’t see the same urgency.
“There are five or six players we are looking at and we have travelled a lot of miles and watched a lot of games this week to look at them. We are waiting for their clubs to get back to us.
“We are looking at young players from Premier League clubs and their managers are perhaps thinking they might be able to get those players out to Championship clubs, so they are keeping us dangling. We may not get a decision until later in the January transfer window.”
Even so, Parry insists he won’t be rushed into making a hasty move. He said: “I’m very keen we don’t just go out and bring in someone for the sake of it. They’ve got to be the right players. We don’t want to be bringing in players we have not seen.
“The ones we have identified are the ones we think can do a job for us because not all young players from Premier League clubs can come to our level and perform well. We will try to hold out for one of our first choices.”
Parry travelled to the north east this week to check on the form of Ryan Donaldson, a 20-year-old who made one appearance for Tranmere in September during a loan spell from Newcastle United that was cut short by injury.
Parry said: “Newcastle took Ryan off at half-time in the game we watched because they decided he was not ready to play 90 minutes, so that was a trip for nothing.”