MANAGER Ronnie Moore has confidence in the ability of Adam McGurk to fill the shoes of talisman Andy Robinson in the Tranmere side at Notts County this afternoon.
Moore says he does not expect Robinson to be available for selection at Meadow Lane after suffering a hamstring injury midway through the first half of Tuesday night’s 3-1 win at Scunthorpe United.
McGurk, who has spent most of this season on the treatment table or on the substitutes’ bench, made a positive impression after replacing Robinson at Glanford Park, helping Rovers dominate the second half with goals scored by James Wallace and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (2).
Moore said: “Any team would miss someone like Robbo. He is such a good player that you worry a bit when he has got to go off. But Adam came on and did exceptionally well on Tuesday.
“Considering he’s only had about 40 minutes of a reserve game under his belt, he was sharp. His set plays got us a couple of goals. The delivery was good.
“Not only that, his discipline was good. He kept us narrow and tight, which made it difficult for Scunthorpe.”
Tranmere will be defending a four-point lead at the top of the table today after the midweek success extended their unbeaten start to the League One campaign to 10 games.
They are the division’s leading scorers with 25 goals and three Rovers players - Akpa Akpro, Jake Cassidy and Robinson - share pole position in the division’s goalscoring charts with seven apiece.
“It is a fairytale start,” Moore said. “To be fair to the players, they have been fantastic. All we can do is play the games as they come and they don’t come much harder than Notts County.”
The Magpies slipped from second to fourth place in the table after losing at home to Stevenage in midweek and now trail Tranmere by six points.
But they boast the kind of strength in depth Rovers cannot afford to match. Keith Curle’s squad includes a pair of players who spent the previous two seasons at Prenton Park - midfielder Joss Labadie and striker Enoch Showunmi.
Moore said: “Notts County have 29 to 30 pros and we’re nowhere near that. They have strength in depth and that’s where we fall short.
“We know that when the injuries and the yellow card stack up, we are going to have a problem. That’s not being disrespectful to anyone. Our best XI is a match for any team.
“The question is: can the lads on the fringe of the first-team come in and do the job the injured players have been doing?”
Moore added: “We know this is going to be a difficult game, especially with Notts County losing in the 93rd minute in midweek. They will be gutted about that.
“I know Keith Curle well and I expect Notts County to be very positive. They have a lot of attacking players in their side.
“We also have attacking players who can score goals as well. So it looks like it could be a very good, entertaining game. I hate to say it should not be a 0-0 game because the last time I said it, we went out and played a goalless draw at Crewe.”
Moore is likely to name a side close to the starting line at Scunthorpe, with McGurk replacing Robinson the only change. There will be a shake up on the bench after young centre back Roman Golobart returned to Wigan Athletic on Thursday at the end of a one-month loan spell.
Notts County will be without full-back Alan Sheehan, who is serving a one match suspension after being sent off for deliberate handball against Stevenage.
Labadie is hoping to earn a starting place against the club who released him at the end of last season.
“Things didn’t work out for me there for one or two reasons last season,” Labadie said. “I just want to play football and I didn’t get that chance last year.
“Things have worked out really well and I’ve got no regrets. I enjoyed my time at Tranmere and they’ve got great staff, great players and I made great friends there.
“It’s a good club, with good fans, but my time there was up and I’m here now. I’m a Notts County player and I’m chuffed to bits with that.”
He added: “Football’s football and I’m a professional, and as soon as I step out over that white line, there’s no friends with the opposition and against Tranmere will be no different.
“In football you’ve always got to prove people wrong and going up against your former club will be no different.”