MANAGER Ronnie Moore is looking to strengthen Tranmere’s defensive resources for the new season by adding a young centre back to the squad.
Moore says he wants to add a little extra cover to the heart of the Rovers rearguard as they prepare to kick off a programme of pre-season friendlies next week.
Tranmere have just two specialist centre-backs – Ash Taylor and Mark McChrystal – available for action when they play matches against local part-time opponents at Cammell Laird on Monday, July 23 (kick-off 7pm), Heswall on Tuesday, July 24 (kick-off 7pm), Vauxhall Motors on Friday, July 27 (kick-off 7pm) and Marine on Saturday, July 28 (kick-off 3pm).
Ian Goodison’s return for pre-season training has been delayed by a hold-up with his passport and the Jamaican international will be spending the next two weeks at home in Montego Bay.
Moore said: “We are trying to find a young centre-back, ideally on loan.
“The difficult part is persuading a club to allow a young lad to come out to us when there is no guarantee he is going to play in the first team.
“We have Ian Goodison, Ash Taylor and Mark McChrystal and I think we need another centre-half as back-up.”
Delays in Goodison’s return to pre-season training have been a feature of his eight years at Prenton Park and Moore admits the 39-year-old, who signed a new one-year contract at the end of last season, has been able to pick up his game without the physical preparation others are put through.
Moore said: “I don’t know how many pre-seasons Goody has missed but he is still in Jamaica where there is a hold-up over his passport. He’s going to be there for two weeks.
“Last season he came back late, came straight off the plane and played 90 minutes in a friendly here at Prenton Park. That’s Goody for you.
“He’s a one-off. He is the one player I know who can get away with not doing a pre-season.”
The remainder of the Tranmere squad are into the second week of pre-season work.
The group of 19 players under contract is augmented by trialists while Liam Palmer, a midfielder with Sheffield Wednesday, is expected to join Tranmere on a six-month loan this week.
Francis Jeffers, the former Everton and Arsenal front man, is also training with Rovers.
Jeffers, 31, is looking to build his fitness while he seeks to secure a contract with an English club for the forthcoming season.
The loose arrangement keeps the door open to the possibility of Jeffers agreeing a deal with Tranmere. The player is a free agent after leaving Newcastle Jets the end of last season Down Under.
Moore said: “Francis is not really sure what his plans are at the present time.
“What he is most concerned about is getting himself fit.
“He’s going to have at least two or three weeks here to get himself really bright.
“If things don’t work out here, then at least he will be fit to go and play if someone else wants to have a look at him.”
Jeffers’s pedigree, which includes four seasons with Everton and two and Arsenal together with a full England cap won in 2003, shows he has the talent to play at the highest level.
He has also suffered poor luck with injuries and fitness issues, playing barely 250 games since turning professional in 1997.