Tranmere boss Ronnie Moore delighted with striker Jake Cassidy
JAKE Cassidy, the teenager setting the League One scoring charts on fire, is reaping the rewards of application as well as talent, according to Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore.
Cassidy's double strike in the 5-2 win at Crawley Town last weekend took his tally for the season to seven in 10 league and cup appearances - all of them notched during a prolific September.
The burst of scoring, which puts Cassidy alongside the division's joint leading scorer and teammate Andy Robinson, has helped to lift Rovers three points clear of their nearest pursuers at the top of the table.
Moore said: "I put Jake's success down to hard work and determination. He earned his goals at Crawley. He put a tremendous effort in.
"For his first goal he broke out of defence with Zoumana Bakayogo. To keep pace with Zoum, so he could be at the far post when the cross came in, took some doing. That shows how determined he was to get on the end of the cross and finish so well.
"For the second goal he chased the opposing player, closed him down and forced the mistake. To score from where he was with the outside of the foot was a tremendous finish."
The second goal highlighted the work Tranmere's front players are doing to unsettle opposing teams and make it difficult for them to play from the back.
Moore said: "It's not just Jake. Jean-Louis Acta Akpro does the same kind of work and so do the wide players. It's a combined effort from all of them.
"The nice thing for Jake is that he is getting on the end of opportunities now, whereas in the first few weeks of the season he did not look like scoring, even though he was still working hard.
"He's getting into the box a lot more now and when he does that, he will score goals because he is a natural finisher."
Cassidy, a 19-year-old from Conwy in North Wales, is in his second loan spell with Tranmere, having notched five goals in a 10 game loan towards the end of last season.
His current deal is due to expire at the beginning of January. Akpa Akpro, Cassidy's striking partner, also figures high in the division's scoring charts after notching his fourth goal of the season at Crawley.
Moore said: "Jean-Louis is not really a natural finisher like Jake but I still think he should be getting 20 goals a season with his pace and determination. Then there's Andy Robinson with seven goals as well. The combination going forward is fantastic at the moment."
However, Moore reckoned the Crawley game served as a reminder that Tranmere have work to do on tightening the defence.
"We are young and a bit inexperienced at the back," he said. "You are going to get games like Crawley, they are going to happen. It was a bit like Fred Carno's circus for 20 minutes in the first half when the defending was horrendous. But when you can still grind out a result it's pleasing for everyone."
Tranmere's small squad of players could soon be up to strength.
Paul Black is due to see his first action of the season in a reserve team game against Bury at Prenton Park on Wednesday evening (7pm).
The left-back, signed from Oldham during the summer, has spent the best part of two months sidelined by a thigh injury.
Front man Adam McGurk also hopes to see some action against Bury while Moore expects experienced centre back Ian Goodison to be ready for a reserve team run out next week following knee surgery last month.
Rovers will look to keep their unbeaten start to the League One campaign going when they entertain Brentford at Prenton Park on Saturday (3pm).
Meanwhile Tranmere's League One game against MK Dons, originally set for Saturday, November 17, has been brought forward to Friday, November 16 (kick-off 7:45pm) for live broadcast on satellite television.