JOHN WELSH reckons Tranmere may be just one win away from pulling out of a slump in results that has lasted more than three months.
Rovers go into Saturday’s encounter with Preston North End at Prenton Park looking to improve on a sequence of 14 League One games yielding just one victory.
The skipper is convinced that improving a modest strike rate holds the key to converting the narrow defeats and occasional draws into positive results and points to climb the table.
“The issue is scoring goals,” Welsh said. “We have been playing okay, we just seem to be having trouble scoring goals.
“We are creating chances and we can’t seem to score enough from them. It is the killer instinct we seem to lack.”
Tranmere average the merest fraction above one goal per game this season. They lost their last four away games by a 2-1 margin. The latest defeat on the road, at Wycombe Wanderers last Saturday, featured a clutch of near misses as well as Adam McGurk’s early strike.
Recent home form is more encouraging, with draws against Rochdale, Brentford and Huddersfield Town following a 2-0 win over Bury at the end of December.
Welsh said: “We’re working hard. We got a good result against Huddersfield the other week. We just have to be as positive as we can. One result can turn it around for us. We’ve got the players here to do it and hopefully it will turn around soon. We have a good bunch of lads here who want to turn things around.
“A couple of wins will push us Šup the table but a couple of losses would drop us back towards the bottom.”
Welsh says he is encouraged by the potential shown in two substitute appearances by Ryan Brunt, an 18-year-old striker signed on loan from Stoke City.
“He’s been doing well,” Welsh said.
Brunt was given the best part of half an hour’s action at Wycombe Wanderers. Manager Les Parry said: “I thought Ryan Šdid well.
“He held the ball up well, had a couple of chances and will probably be disappointed he did not take one of them. But I think he showed he can do something for us.”
Tranmere took an early lead in each of their last three away games but could not protect the advantage.
Parry said: “I don’t think it’s going 1-0 up that is the problem for us. It is how we react when we concede that is more of a concern. In all three games when we went 1-0 up, we carried on doing well until the other team got a goal. It is how we respond to that disappointment we need to look at.”
One plus point for Tranmere at Adams Park was the performance of goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams. The Welshman showed no ill effects from a broken hand that kept him out of action for the past two and a half months.
“I thought Fonners did fantastically well,” said Parry.
“One save he made was tremendous. There were little bits of his game that looked a little rusty, his kicking could be improved a little bit. But overall I was delighted with him.”