Oct 9 2013 by Nick Hilton, Early LE
TRANMERE face the prospect of being without Andy Robinson for another month as they attempt to fight their way off the bottom of the League One table.
The experienced midfielder, whose creative spark has been sorely missed while he was sidelined by a knee injury in recent weeks, has a hernia.
Manager Ronnie Moore said: “It looks like Robbo has a hernia. On top of his knee injury he is going to be out for another month.”
Moore admits the 33-year-old’s absence is hurting his team, who failed to score in four of the last five League One outings.
He is urging young wide players Joe Thompson and Abdulai Baggie to be bolder and less inhibited in the cause of giving Tranmere some much-needed punch going forward.
“We miss Andy Robinson and the quality he puts into the box,” Moore said. “At the start of the season Joe Thompson was looking like the player we know he can be, going past people and creating opportunities. We need him to reproduce that form. Baggie has to do the same thing. He keeps on moaning to me that he does not want to be a substitute all the time, coming on from the bench and being an impact player.
“He wants to start games. But first you have to produce it when you come on, by taking people’s eye and making them ask, ‘why isn’t he playing from the start?’ We’ve not had that. The creativity from the wide areas has not been there.”
Moore says Thompson has impressed in training, responding to encouragement to take on defenders and get crosses into the box, but is not as bold in games.
“Tommo looks well in training sessions but when he gets out there in games, he sometimes looks like he’s got a bit of stage fright,” Moore said. “He has to overcome that. He’s a good player and he has shown what he can do. Our supporters have seen it. We need to see it week in and week out, not just one game in every four.”
Moore reports Jason Koumas, another of Tranmere’s long-term casualties, faces another two to three weeks on the sidelines with a groin strain.
Goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams is absent from training this week after joining up with the Welsh international squad for their final World Cup qualifiers.
Chris Coleman’s squad face FYR Macedonia on Friday night in Cardiff before taking on Belgium in Brussels four days later.
Rovers are hopeful Coleman will give Fon Williams permission to play in the League One fixture at Bradford City on Sunday and then return to the Wales squad after the game.
Tranmere are short of goalkeeping cover because No.2 Jason Mooney is sidelined with a knee injury.
The international fixtures are also impacting on Bradford.
Carl McHugh will miss the game with Tranmere after being called into the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad.
McHugh was on the standby list for the Euro Championship double header against Romania and has now been promoted for the home and away ties on Friday and next Tuesday. Rory McArdle is away with Northern Ireland, leaving Bantams boss Phil Parkinson short of cover at centre-half. Luke Oliver is lined up to replace McArdle in the centre of defence for the third time this season.