TRANMERE must attempt to keep their promotion challenge up to speed over the next fortnight without the influence of powerful new target man Mama Sidibe.
The experienced Sidibe, who began a loan spell from Stoke City by helping Rovers break a four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win at Colchester United last weekend, picked up a hamstring injury during the game. He missed Tuesday night’s home game against Notts County and isn’t expected to be available for the trip to Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Sidibe’s setback follows the loss of attacking midfielder Adam McGurk, who faces a month on the sidelines with a collapsed lung.
However, manager Ronnie Moore and assistant John McMahon hope they have enough attacking firepower at their disposal to keep Rovers in the leading pack at the top of the League One table.
McMahon acknowledged that the introduction of Sidibe and the return of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro following a three match suspension had a big impact on the side at Colchester. They had managed just two goals in the previous four games.
“They made a massive difference,” McMahon said. “Big Mama gave us the presence up front. His work rate, his experience and know-how were valuable.
“He went back to Stoke on Sunday and they are looking at the possibility of a two-week layoff. That seems to be the way things are going for us at the moment. We kick on and then there’s the little setback.”
Sidibe was born in Mali and moved to France with his family when he was two years old.
He played for CA Paris-Charenton before leaving for England at the age of 22. He secured a contract with Swansea City and played 35 games for the Welsh club in 2001/02, scoring eight goals.
He joined Gillingham in 2002 and went on to play 115 games for the Kent club, scoring 13 goals.
A move to Stoke City in 2005 took his career to another level. He helped Stoke climb into the Premier League and notched up over 180 League and Cup appearances, scoring 26 goals.
However, a run of cruel luck with injuries began when he snapped his Achilles tendon in a game against Tottenham and missed most of 2010. Soon after returning to action, he snapped the Achilles tendon again.
After missing 14 months Sidibe returned to football and suffered a dislocated knee in a reserve match. He considered retiring from the game but in November of this season he was fit enough to join Sheffield Wednesday on loan and remained with the Owls until mid-January, playing nine games and scoring one goal.
He will be hoping his latest injury blow with Tranmere is merely a short term blip.
McGurk suffered a collapsed lung towards the end of last week. He faces a period of rest before being eased back into training.
Manager Ronnie Moore missed training with his Tranmere squad on Monday to check out prospective signing Ben Gibson.
The 19-year-old centre back played the first game of his comeback from a groin injury for Middlesbrough reserves against Blackpool reserves.
If all goes well, Gibson could start a second loan spell with Tranmere this week.
He made 25 league and cup appearances for Rovers during his first long spell, which was cut short by the injury in early December.