TRANMERE ROVERS are hoping to open talks over the return of defender Ben Gibson.
The 20-year-old from Middlesbrough had his loan spell at Prenton Park cut short in December because of injury.
Gibson returned to the Riverside Stadium to begin his rehabilitation.
And though his comeback was delayed because of a minor knee injury, Rovers were hoping Gibson would come through a reserve game this week unscathed.
Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore travelled to the North East on Monday night to watch Boro’s second string take on Sunderland reserves at the Stadium of Light.
And Moore now hopes to seal a deal with his counterpart Tony Mowbray which will allow Gibson to return to the League One side.
Moore said: "A lot will depend on Middlesbrough and what they want to do. We'll see how his fitness is and then I'll phone Tony and have a chat and see what his feelings are.
“Ben would give us another option. Ian Goodison is playing so well that I don't see myself leaving him out to play Ben. But Ben could play at full-back and then Zouman Bakayogo could push on one which gives us more pace there.”
Tranmere were last night scheduled to face Walsall at the Banks’s Stadium in League One.
Victory over Oldham Athletic moved Rovers back into the play-off places last weekend and Moore was delighted with the grit his injury-hit side showed.
"It was a massive result for us, no doubt about that,” he said.
"It's a busy week and could be make or break, especially with Walsall tonight and then MK at the weekend. The performance wasn't brilliant but it's about the result. That's the first time this season we've ground out a result without playing well.
"We haven't played particularly well in some games this week and we've lost them. I told the lads that we've got to learn how to keep a clean sheet and grind out a one nil. We got a little bit of luck, which you need at times, when Baxter's fantastic free-kick has hit the underside of the bar. So it was nice we got the breaks in this game.”
Next up for Rovers is Saturday’s trip to MK Dons (3pm).