RONNIE MOORE says Tranmere are likely to look to home-grown talent to fill some of the gaps in the squad left by injuries and the departure of loan players.
Front man Cole Stockton and midfielders Jake Kirby and Max Power may find themselves thrust into the first-team frame as Rovers attempt to maintain the pace at the front of the League One promotion race.
Moore is scouring the loan market for front and wide players to strengthen his selection options and has until Thursday’s deadline to make a signing. After that he must wait until the opening of the January transfer window.
However Moore is finding many potential targets are too expensive in terms of wages, for a club of Tranmere’s modest means.
Striker Jake Jervis returned to Birmingham City at the start of this week following a month on loan at Prenton Park while a second loan striker, Nathan Eccleston, has spent most of his month with Tranmere receiving treatment for a hamstring injury back at Bloomfield Road. The pair were brought in to cover for the absence of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, who is not expected to be available until mid-January after breaking a bone in his foot.
Meanwhile Rovers know that 10-goal leading marksman Jake Cassidy is due to return to Wolves in early January when his long-term loan comes to an end. The Championship club may well decide to keep the teenager at Molineux for the second half of the season.
Tranmere don’t yet know whether the long-term loan arrangements for midfielder Liam Palmer (from Sheffield Wednesday) and Ben Gibson (from Middlesbrough) can be extended when they run out in early January.
Moore revealed he attempted to sign Nathaniel Mendez-Laing from Peterborough after the 20-year-old front man became one of four players transfer listed and fined by the Posh for a breach of club discipline on a night out.
But Tranmere could not afford the player’s wages. Mendez-Laing then signed for financially troubled Portsmouth.
Moore said: “We asked about Mendez-Laing and we can’t afford the money he is on. We are trying to find strikers out there but it is difficult. The wages some these player earn put them beyond our reach. We will probably have to rely on our own kids.
“We have a young lad here, Jake Kirby. If I go and bring another kid in, we don’t get to know whether Jake is going to be good enough or not, until we throw him in and have a look.
“Cole Stockton was unfortunate not to play against MK Dons on Friday. I’ve been reluctant to play him alongside Jake Cassidy because they are similar types.
“Cassidy is definitely going back to Wolves in January and we don’t know how long for. He is going to be a big loss for us. Can Cole do it? It will be a big test.”
Moore took encouragement from the performances of Stockton, Kirby and Power in the 3-0 FA Cup win at Braintree Town last Tuesday. The trio were on the bench for the 1-0 home defeat to MK Dons on Friday.
Tranmere, in League action against Walsall at Prenton Park on Tuesday night, travel to Stevenage this weekend.
LAST Friday’s attendance at Prenton Park of 10,587 was the best of the season as the Merseyside public took advantage of a £5 admission price offer.
It was the highest gate for a league fixture at Prenton Park since April 2011, when 12,249 people watched the game against Notts County. However, admission that night was free, after the original encounter was abandoned because of waterlogging.
So the MK Dons gate represents the best turnout of paying customers at Prenton Park since Tranmere played host to Leeds United on the opening day of the 2007-08 season in front of 11,008 people.