Jan 21 2014 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
TRANMERE are to take their fight against the threat of relegation onto the front foot after securing the services of striker Jake Cassidy for the remainder of the season.
The 20-year-old is due to sign the documents on a three-month loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday, having chosen a return to Prenton Park ahead of several alternative moves in the January transfer window.
Cassidy, who scored 11 goals in a half-season spell with Rovers last term and five in a shorter stay at the end of 2011/12, is already training with the squad and working on forging a striking partner- ship with Ryan Lowe.
Manager Ronnie Moore believes the pairing of the strong and power- ful Cassidy with experienced 15-goal marksman Lowe has the potential to produce one of the most effective attacking combin- ations in League One. And it means Tranmere will return to a familiar 4-4-2 set-up and put aside the more defensive systems which have added extra protection for the back-four and left Lowe deployed as a lone front man.
Moore said: “We hope Cass coming in will give us a lift. Fingers crossed he is going to be a big help for Ryan Lowe. He gives us height, strength and hopefully a few more goals.
“I have thought for some time about playing these two together and I think they should be a wow.
“Look at the goals Ryan Lowe has scored on his own up front this season and the goals Cass scored with us last season. I’m sure Cass will get goals for us again.”
Cassidy has been allowed to leave Molineux on a temporary assignment because he could not find the scoring touch with his parent club.
Manager Kenny Jackett gave Cassidy plenty of opportunities this season, sometimes playing the youngster ahead of more experienced men. But the goals remained elusive.
A number of clubs were keen on taking Cassidy on loan but the player himself was deter- mined to return to Tranmere, where scoring goals has never been a problem.
Moore said: “I think Cassidy will gain confidence from being here. He’s not a million miles from his home in North Wales and he knows the lads here.
“The big decision about coming here was his. He could have gone to a club higher up the ladder but he chose us.”
Moore added: “People have said he has not scored goals in 20 odd games for Wolves but sometimes that can be down to a mental thing.
“He is stronger physically than he was last season. When we played Wolves at Molineux in November he smashed Ian Goodison all over the place. If you are smashing Ian Goodison all over the place, you have to be big and strong.
“On that day he should have scored against us, when he put a chance past the post. But he knows where the goal is and I think he will do well with Ryan Lowe. If we get balls into the box I think they will get goals for us.”
Moore acknowledges there is an element of risk in returning to a 4-4-2 setup when the defensive frailties which caused Tranmere to seek a more cautious tactical approach have not been completely overcome.
“A lot of teams are playing 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 now and if you are playing 4-4-2 against them you can get outnumbered in midfield,” Moore said.
“It can give you a massive problem – as Liverpool found out in the first half against Aston Villa last Saturday.
“I’m not saying we’re going to play 4-4-2 in every game until the end of the season but certainly we want to play it in our home games.
“We definitely have to get at the opposing team.”
Cassidy can expect to make his first Tranmere start of the new spell in the home game against fellow strugglers Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.