Aug 6 2013 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
JASON KOUMAS is asking Tranmere and their supporters for a little extra time to bring his game back up to speed.
The 33-year-old midfielder reckons he needs another week or two of training and match practice to regain the fitness and sharpness required for the demands of League One football, following a two-year absence from the professional game.
Koumas signed a one-year contract with Rovers towards the end of last week after convincing manager Ronnie Moore and his staff that he is fully committed to making a comeback.
The former Wales international from Wallasey played 30 minutes as a substitute in Tranmere’s opening day defeat at Walsall.
Koumas said: “I’m still looking to get more minutes under my belt to improve my sharpness. I’ve only been training for just over two and a half weeks. It is hard work which is benefiting me and maybe in another two or three weeks I will feel great again and you will see a better player.”
Koumas says it had always being in his mind to return to the club where his career started, even after turning his back on the game altogether at the end of the 2010/11 season.
“I had the time out as everyone knows, which I enjoyed and I needed,” Koumas said. “I always knew I was going to come back here to Tranmere. It’s just a shame I could not have started on the training two or three weeks earlier.”
Koumas says the idea of returning to Tranmere had been on his mind since the day he left Prenton Park to join West Brom in 2002 and not just in more recent times.
“The spark was when I left here,” Koumas said. “I always said I would come back. It was something I wanted to do.
“I have had plenty of offers to play elsewhere, even some this summer. But I wanted to come back to Tranmere while I can still do a job. I didn’t want to come when I was past it and not able to do myself justice.”
Koumas came close to marking his comeback to league football with a goal at Walsall, clipping an injury time free kick against the woodwork.
“I was fuming that free kick did not go in,” Koumas said. “I should have scored. But there was nothing to take away from the fact it was a poor team performance at Walsall.
“The home game against Crawley turns into a big one now. You don’t want to be losing your first two league games because then you are playing catch-up. We really need to put it right quickly.”
Koumas is likely to be given another run off the substitutes bench when Tranmere take on Mansfield in the Capital One Cup first round at Prenton Park this evening. Manager Ronnie Moore says he is reluctant to give Koumas a full 90 minutes while his fitness levels are not yet up to speed, because of the risk of an injury setback.