TRANMERE manager Ronnie Moore believes Owain Fon Williams is worthy of winning a first full international cap with Wales tonight.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper is in line to make his debut in the World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Cardiff, after helping Rovers surge four points clear at the top of the League One table after 11 unbeaten games this season.
Moore said: “If Fonners gets his Wales cap it will be on merit. The top Wales keeper is injured at the moment but I don’t think there’s anyone better than Fonners among the keepers they have available.
“I’m not telling (Wales manager) Chris Coleman how to do his job but I have worked with Fonners every day and watched him keep six clean sheets in our first 11 League One games. He deserves his chance.
“He has stepped up a level with us this season. Dave Timmins, our goalkeeper coach, has worked very hard with him.
“We had a problem last season in that he wasn’t coming for crosses. We got into his ribs and told him that if he wants to be a top goalkeeper, he can’t be a goalkeeper who stays on his line. You have got to be able to come out and claim the ball. He’s doing that superbly now. It takes so much pressure off the back four.”
Fon Williams’ involvement with the Wales squad means he will be absent when Tranmere take on Yeovil Town in a League One fixture at Prenton Park tomorrow.
Moore is putting his faith in Jason Mooney, the goalkeeper from Northern Ireland who signed a one-year contract in the summer and will make his League One debut in a Rovers shirt against the Glovers.
The manager said: “Very often in this situation you go out and get another experienced goalkeeper in on loan. We have trusted Jason and hopefully he will repay that trust on Saturday.
“When we signed Jason in the summer he said he didn’t want to come here just to be the understudy. That was one of the things that impressed me about him. He wasn’t here to just sit on the bench and be in awe of Fonners. He wanted to take Fonners’ place, which shows a lot of confidence. We will see if that confidence is justified at 5pm on Saturday.”
Mooney, a goalkeeper of towering stature, was on the books of Wycombe Wanderers last season but spent the campaign on loan to non-league club Oxford City. He secured a professional contract with Tranmere in the summer after impressing in a pre-season trial.
Moore said: “Jason’s certainly got potential. For a big man he does get down well and gets up well.”
Tranmere, seeking to strengthen their position at the head of the division, will be without creative midfielder Andy Robinson and striker Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
Robinson will be missing his second game with a hamstring injury while Akpa Akpro underwent foot surgery this week to a broken metatarsal and is expected to be on the sidelines for three months.
Moore says he must decide whether to include a trainee goalkeeper among the substitutes or put seven outfielders on the bench and trust in the claim of striker Jake Cassidy that he can deputise as a goalkeeper.
“Jake thinks he can play in goal, so it’ll be an interesting decision for me,” Moore said.