Ian Dawes was pleased with a number of individual displays as Tranmere Rovers defeated Wigan Athletic on penalties to progress in the Papa John’s Trophy.
With six points taken from three matches in Group 4, the Whites will advance to the next stage of the competition alongside Port Vale.
Kaiyne Woolery and Kieron Morris were on the scoresheet for the hosts in regular time, though spot-kicks were required after the match ended 2-2 at Prenton Park.
Rovers sealed their fate from 12-yards, with Danny Lloyd, Ollie Banks and Kieron Morris all on target.
Delivering his assessment of the contest, Ian Dawes said: “To progress is important, to keep the momentum up of getting results. It’s always one of those competitions where the further you get, the more you get excited about the potential of getting to Wembley.
“The game has come at a good time. We know it’s going to be a long season and that we will need the squad. A few of the players out there haven’t played for a while and the game has come at a good time for them.”
There was a debut for new recruit Lloyd, who joined the Club on Tuesday, and Morgan Ferrier marked his return from a long-term injury.
Discussing the performances of both players, Dawes said: “The biggest complement I could give to him [Lloyd] is that he didn’t look like he’s not played any football this season. He looked sharp and he suits the ethos of the club: he works hard but he’s got quality as well to back that up.
“We’re going to need a good squad and players to come in when required. We were never going to add players to the squad that wouldn’t be competing for first-team places. Once I saw him in training and how sharp he was, I knew that he’d been looking after himself while he’s been off.
“Morgan did well when he came on,” added Dawes. “In the second-half, we were much better today. We created more chances, got the goal and Morgan was a big part in that. Every time he got it, it looked like something could happen. He held the ball up well, worked hard and was a constant threat for 45 minutes.”
There was also praise for Joe Murphy, who crucially kept out three of Wigan’s penalties.
“Joe has been outstanding all season. He has slotted in and looks fit. He has made two massive saves in the game and saved three penalties. He’s great to have around the changing room as he’s a good leader and a good part of the group,” concluded Dawes.