MAX POWER hopes he has strengthened his case for making a bigger contribution to Tranmere’s League One promotion challenge over the second half of the season.
The 19-year-old from Bebington, handed a midfield spot against Sheffield United in a tactical reshuffle, delivered a positive performance as Ronnie Moore’s team held the promotion favourites to a goalless draw at Bramall Lane.
It was only the third time Power has started a league game for Rovers but the confident second-year professional senses further opportunities may be up for grabs as the busy festive programme approaches.
Power said: “Playing at the big grounds like Sheffield United is what you aim for and when your opportunities come you have to make the most of them. Hopefully I’ve done enough to stay in the team.
“I’m still a young lad, learning the game but I had a good experience playing a few games last year and I have been looking to build on that.”
Power’s pre-season hopes of quickly establishing himself as a first-team player at Prenton Park had to be put on hold as skipper James Wallace and long-term loan recruit Liam Palmer formed a central midfield partnership that drove Tranmere’s surge to the top.
Power said: “I came into pre-season raring to go. But James Wallace is the captain and a fantastic player. He has been brilliant all season and so has Liam Palmer, so I just had to bide my time.”
The youngster admitted he was “a bit surprised” to find himself playing alongside Palmer at Bramall Lane, with the more experienced Danny Harrison dropping to the bench.
“Danny came into the side for the previous game and did really well against Portsmouth,” Power said. “When I was told I would be playing against Sheffield United I could not sleep the night before – although I can’t sleep much these days because of the baby.”
Power became a father to Max Power Jr a few weeks ago and scored his first Tranmere goal, in a 3-0 FA Cup win at Braintree Town, soon afterwards.
“Scoring that goal was brilliant,” Power said. “It was the best feeling I’ve ever had in football. If the barriers had been any lower I might have hopped in with the supporters to celebrate. It meant so much because my dad is a big Tranmere fan and I’ve been at this club since I was seven years old.”
Power could find himself moving closer to the first-team frame in the New Year if Rovers are unable to negotiate an extension of Palmer’s loan from Sheffield Wednesday, which is due to expire in early January. He believes Rovers are capable of staying in the forefront of the promotion race after taking the rest of the division by surprise over the first four months of the season.
Friday’s game at Swindon Town marks the halfway point of the campaign and Power insists: “We have not yet come up against a team who have outplayed us. I keep hearing people say Tranmere are going to slip up, that we are in a false position but that is not the case.
“On the occasions we have been beaten its been more or less brought on by ourselves.”
Power added: “We went to Sheffield United, the biggest team in the division by a mile and in my opinion we were the better side and could have taken all three points. So why shouldn’t we win at Swindon? We can go there with the same confidence.”