Jan 3 2013 The Liverpool Post
AS MANAGER Ronnie Moore began 2013 on the lookout for loan signings to strengthen Tranmere’s promotion challenge, he was keen to acknowledge the contributions of his own young players in keeping the team on course at the top end of the League One table.
The Christmas week wins over Crewe Alexandra and Scunthorpe United threw up a couple of home-grown heroes with 18-year-old Cole Stockton and 19-year-old Max Power notching winning goals.
Midfielder Power’s spectacular long-range effort against Crewe was his first goal at Prenton Park while Stockton’s fifth strike of the season showed a marksman’s predatory instincts as he nodded home a rebound from the goalkeeper to secure the points against The Iron.
Moore said: “Cole has delivered when he’s come into the side. He’s on a learning curve and it is still development time for him.
“We’ve wrapped him up in cotton wool in terms of not asking him to do too much. He’s still learning what is expected of him and his day will come. Against Scunthorphe did what good strikers do, sniffed out a chance after the keeper made a great save from Ash Taylor and put it away.”
Stockton, a graduate from Tranmere’s youth development set up, says he understands why the majority of his appearances have been off the substitutes’ bench. “The gaffer tells me basically how it is and I understand the situation,” Stockton said.
“I’m learning a lot from the gaffer, like about getting into positions where defenders don’t want me to be.
“When the club is bringing strikers in on loan and it just makes me work harder. When I get my opportunities I have to make the most of them.”
Stockton added: “I was pleased with the Scunthorpe goal because I had not scored one from inside the box in a little while. It was great to see us back at the top of the table after that result.”
Stockton, from Rainhill, turned professional the end of last season. Power, in his second season as a professional, lags a little behind Stockton’s total of more than 20 first-team appearances.
Power forced his way into the starting line-up in December when skipper James Wallace was sidelined by a medial ligament injury.
The youngster has held down the central midfield slot ahead of the more experienced Danny Harrison since figuring in the goalless draw at Sheffield United.
Power said: “I waited a long time to get a run of games in the first team. Now it’s come I aim to grab it with both hands.
“I have scored goals at every level I have played for Tranmere, with the juniors, youth and reserves. I want to get that into my game at first-team level. I believe I can get goals for this team. Hopefully the goal against Crewe was one of many to come.”
Growing up in Bebington among his family of Tranmere fans, Power feels a close affinity to the supporters, considering himself one of them. He admitted to almost jumping in with the supporters in celebration after scoring his first senior goal in an FA Cup win at Braintree Town in November.
On Boxing Day Power’s celebrations included a rock the cradle gesture in recognition of the recent birth of his son, Max Power Jr.
Moore went on: “When you look at our squad and how shorter numbers we’re, you have to say the lads who’ve come into the side have been fantastic. If we can hang onto a good position until everyone is fit again, and that may not be too far away now, then we will give ourselves a real chance.”