Jan 31 2013 by Nick Hilton, The Liverpool Post
DEFENDER Zoumana Bakayogo has turned himself into a “cultured, attacking left-back” with Tranmere this season according to manager Ronnie Moore, who is keen to keep the Frenchman at Prenton Park.
While Moore says work on squad-building plans for 2013-14 is made difficult by uncertainty about which division the League One leaders will be competing in, he has no doubts about wanting Bakayogo to sign a new contract.
“If we do go up, Zoum is the type of player you need to have in your side because in the Championship, fullbacks with pace are what you need,” Moore said.
The 26-year-old, a fringe player in recent years, made himself a permanent fixture in the side this season. “Zoum’s been fantastic,” Moore said.
“His improvement in such a short time is very pleasing. He was a bit erratic when I first came to the club last March. His crosses were going behind the goal and into the stands. He’s always had the pace but now he looks like a cultured, attacking left-back.”
Tranmere have opened talks with Bakayogo and his new agent about a deal to replace the one that expires at the end of the season. Moore said: “We are speaking to his agent about a new contract and trying to get it sorted.”
Tranmere made an investment for the long term this week by signing 18-year-old striking prospect Cole Stockton on a two-and-a-half- year contract.
The 18-year-old has already provided evidence of his potential by scoring five goals in 23 senior appearances this season, all but five of them as a substitute.
Moore said: “Cole is a promising young striker who deserves this opportunity. We have seen glimpses of his talent this season and I believe there is a lot more to come from him. He has a great attitude and wants to improve.”
Stockton, from Rainhill, joined Tranmere’s youth development set-up at the age of 14.
Last season, as a final year scholar, he enjoyed two spells on loan with Conference North club Vauxhall Motors, scoring four goals.
He also made his Football League debut for Tranmere as a substitute in a game against Rochdale last January.
Stockton was awarded his first professional contract by Rovers in April and scored a goal in his first senior start for the club, a 2-1 League Cup win at Chesterfield in August.
Three of Stockton’s five senior strikes have been winning goals.