LUCAS AKINS left Tranmere last night in a move to Stevenage that sparked the start of what could be a flurry of incoming transfer activity at Prenton Park.
No sooner was Akins’ departure confirmed than Rovers announced they had secured the services of striker Jake Cassidy on a six-month loan from Wolves.
Cassidy, 19, scored five times in just seven starts in his loan spell with Rovers at the end of last season, making ten appearances in total.
Manager Ronnie Moore said: “Everyone knows I was impressed by Jake last season so I am really pleased we been able to bring him back the first half of the season.
“The fact he was able to finish up as joint top scorer after playing only 10 times shows how well he did. He’s got a fantastic work ethic. He is keen to learn and wants to do well and I think he’s got a really bright future ahead of him.
“I would like to thank Wolves and their manager Stale Solkakken for allowing Jake to come back to us.”
Wide midfielder Akins was sold for an undisclosed fee. The 23-year-old spent the last two seasons with Rovers and was contracted for the new campaign.
Stevenage boss Gary Smith described Akins as “a great signing” and “an athletic player who adds versatility to our squad.”
Akins was keen on the move after making 87 senior appearances for Tranmere, scoring seven goals.
The transfer also has benefits for Tranmere. It is my understanding that Moore may well be able to fund two new signings on the strength of the financial benefits from the Akins’ sale.
Moore has no shortage of vacancies to fill, with a central defender a top priority and another front man required following the loss of target man Ben Burgess at the start of this week.
Moore says he hopes to have a centre back and another attacker signed up by early next week.
The names being linked to a potential move to Prenton Park also include Rochdale’s 23-year-old winger Joe Thompson.
Moore will take another look at trialists Jonathan Tehoue and Liam Chilvers in Saturday’s friendly at Fleetwood Town. Tehoue, a 28-year-old French-born striker released by Leyton Orient at the end of last season, played half an hour in a friendly at Marine last Saturday and 80 minutes against an Everton XI in Wednesday’s Liverpool Senior Cup final.
Moore said: “Jonathan did all right on Wednesday. He worked hard, won balls in the air and chased things. He’s still lacking half a yard of pace because he has not trained that much this summer, so I want to have another look at him at the weekend.
“He will play on Saturday and then we will make a decision on him.
“Chilvers is an experienced defender who was with Notts County and has not been fixed up yet. He’ll be involved in some part of the game at Fleetwood and may even start.”
Chilvers played the final half-hour of the Everton game. The 30-year-old began his career with Arsenal but failed to make a first-team breakthrough and gained senior experience on a succession of loan assignments to Northampton, Notts County, KSK Beveren in Belgium and Colchester United.
He signed permanently for Colchester in 2004, played four seasons at Preston between 2006 and 2010 and was released by Notts County at the end of last season after completing a two-year contract. He boasts more than 300 senior appearances, many of them in the Championship and League One.
Moore says finding a centre back remains his first concern. “I put a circular out to all clubs for an experienced centre back and we have had no feedback whatsoever,” he said.
“I think most clubs are still assessing their squads at the moment, so it may be we will have to take a young lad who is enthusiastic. I have two or three of those in mind. You don’t really know how they are going to cope until you put them in the team but the ones I’m thinking about have played at League Two clubs so they know what it is about.”
Ash Taylor’s call-up to the Wales under 21 squad for game against Armenia at Wrexham on Wednesday, August 15 has not helped Tranmere’s cause.
It means Taylor is likely to be unavailable for the League Cup first-round tie at Chesterfield the day before.
Meanwhile Moore is expecting a stiff challenge from Fleetwood, new arrivals in League Two after winning their second promotion under manager Micky Mellon, a former Tranmere midfielder.
The Cod Army have been bankrolled on a rapid rise through the non league divisions by the wealth of chairman and local businessmen Andy Pilley.
Moore said: “Micky has done a tremendous job at Fleetwood. The chairman has given him money and he has spent it wisely. I think the squad of players assembled there is strong enough to give them a shot at finishing in the top three. It’s going to be a good test for us. Fleetwood may be League Two and we’re League One but they are the club with a big budget.”