SKIPPER James Wallace is digging deep into his own pocket in the hope of speeding his return to first-team action with Tranmere.
The 20-year-old midfielder was this week told he faces a six-week lay-off with medial ligament damage.
Wallace, a driving force behind Rovers’ climb to the top of the League One table after 20 games of the campaign, is receiving the best treatment Tranmere can provide at Prenton Park and getting help from his former club Everton.
He has also purchased a recovery machine – a device that stimulates muscles when normal exercise is not an option – to use at home. They cost a four figure sum and Tranmere have just one such machine at Prenton Park, which is used by all of the squad. Wealthier clubs can afford to have more of them.
Rovers assistant manager John McMahon said: “This just shows how professional and dedicated James is.
“We have one of those recovery machines at the club and they don’t come cheap. James has bought his own to use himself because he wants to get back into action as soon as he possibly can.”
Wallace sustained the injury when stretching into a challenge 10 minutes into the 2-1 FA Cup win over Chesterfield last Saturday.
He looks sure to miss Tranmere’s busy Christmas and New Year programme and the third round tie at Derby County on Saturday, January 5.
McMahon said: “To lose one of your most influential players is a big blow, especially when it comes on top of the fact that we have Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Abdulai Bell-Baggie on the long-term injury list.
“You just have to get on with these things. Other clubs will have the same problems, I would assume. Some have bigger squads than us. We will feel the impact of losing influential players.
“On the other side of the coin it is an opportunity for other players to come in and take their chances.”
Danny Harrison is likely to play alongside Liam Palmer in Wallace’s absence when Tranmere play host to Portsmouth in a League One fixture at Prenton Park on Saturday.
Harrison, in his second spell with Tranmere and with 370 games behind him, spent much of the season on the bench while the Wallace/Palmer partnership flourished. The 30-year-old has been involved over the past month.
McMahon said: “Players like Danny Harrison, Max Power and Joe Thompson and others are going to have an opportunity to come into the side and say: now I will show you exactly what I am capable of.”
McMahon says he was encouraged by the contributions of teenagers Cole Stockton, 18, and Power, 19, to the success against Chesterfield.
“These boys are not the finished article, they are learning their trade,” McMahon said. “But they are going about it in a really positive way. Their attitude has been excellent.
“They know they are going to be in and out of the team while they learn their trade. It is never going to be a case of them breaking into the side and being there forever and a day.
“They are aware of that. They are keen. They want to listen, to learn to do the right things and they seem to be progressing well.”