MANAGER Ronnie Moore is hopeful Tranmere will be cleared to deploy the quicksilver skills of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro in Saturday’s Prenton Park encounter with promotion chasing rivals Swindon Town.
Fears that the French front man was facing another spell on the sidelines, this time with a broken rib, have been eased following his painful fall in the 2-1 win at Brentford last weekend.
An initial x-ray showed no break, although Akpa Akpro is undergoing a second x-ray to make sure.
Moore said: “The first x-ray showed no break, luckily enough. We are double checking as a precaution with a second x-ray. Jean -Louis is still a little bit sore, as you would expect when you get a bang around the ribs area.
“He was okay on the bus coming back from Brentford because he had been dosed up with tablets. When he got up on Sunday morning he was quite sore but hopefully he’ll be okay for the weekend.”
Moore said it “did not help” that Brentford manager Uwe Rosler attempted to pick Akpa Akpro off the floor after he fell when challenging for a high ball close to the dugout at Griffin Park.
“Their manager must have thought Jean-Louis was messing about and he grabbed his arm and tried to lift him,” Moore said. “Greg Blundell (Tranmere’s physiotherapist) gave him a mouthful and told him in no uncertain terms: you concentrate on your 4-4-2 and let me get on with injured players.
“It looks as if Jean-Louis has been a bit lucky.”
Moore would have been cursing Tranmere’s if they had lost Akpa Akpro again, just three games after his return from a three-month layoff for a broken metatarsal.
However, Akpa Akpro’s likely availability will not deter the League One leaders from attempting to add another player to the squad from the loan market.
Moore says his priority is a striker with both experience and stature. But as ever, his choices are limited by the amount of money Rovers can afford to pay towards a loan player’s wages.
Moore said: “We are still looking for another striker. The chairman has been good as gold, saying to go ahead and try to find someone who can better us.
”The money those players are earning is often the problem. There’s a lot of players with Championship clubs who are on megabucks, and that kills us.
“There’s two or three we’ve spoken to who are on £8000 to £10,000 a week in the Championship. Even if those Championship clubs offer to pay half of the wages, we still can’t afford to pay £4000. It’s out of our reach.
“The chairman will go to a certain amount, which is good of him but we can’t afford to pay the tax on the wages of some of the players we have been asking about.”
Moore added: “I must have asked about nine or 10 experienced strikers and two or three inexperienced ones. I must have made about a dozen calls to other managers. I thought we had one or two of them in the bag at one point and then at the last minute they were taken away. So we are still looking.”
Moore says he plans to make contact with Wolves this week to ask about the prospect of re-signing striker Jake Cassidy for a second loan spell.
Cassidy, 19, has made three appearances, two of them as a substitute, for Wolves since returning to Molineux at the start of January.
The new Wolves manager Dean Saunders wants to assess whether Cassidy is capable of adapting his game to the demands of Championship football after scoring 11 goals in 26 League One games for Tranmere during the first half of this campaign.
Cassidy played the final 15 minutes of Wolves’ goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.
Moore said: “I will be speaking to someone down at Wolves just to see what the situation is and whether it has changed. If it has changed, I will be asking if we could have Jake back.”