Rovers boss Micky Mellon met with the local press this week to look ahead to Saturday afternoon’s fixture away at Stockport County.
Mellon discussed a range of topics, including the January Transfer Window, the debut of Harvey Saunders, the Deadline Day incomings, competition for places and the visit to Edgeley Park on Saturday afternoon.
Micky started with his thoughts on the January Transfer Window for his side, and how happy he was with the business that was completed.
“I’m satisfied with the business this month and what we got. We always want one more, but that’s just greedy, but we’re pleased with the work which we got done and happy with the additions to the group.
“The problems which we quite clearly had was impact, coming off the bench, and competition in certain areas of the pitch, specifically the top areas of the pitch. We needed front men, and we had good cover and competition in the rest of the areas of the pitch, but now (touch wood!), we should be ok for the rest of the season.
“We have wanted some of these players for a while now and it’s when the opportunity comes up to bring them in. We wanted to bring one or two of them in in the summer, but we can do that now. I think sometimes in January, it becomes a bit easier to bring players in, in terms of what they may of cost in the summer, but we’re very pleased that we got them in.”
Regan Hendry was the first loan deal of Tuesday’s Deadline Day, arriving from Forest Green Rovers on a temporary basis until the end of the campaign.
“Anybody who watches a lot of football in our league and watched the games in which Regan played against us last season can see that he was one of the best midfield players in the division. He’s got a brilliant range of passing and will take the ball from dangerous areas in the back four and help us to grow up the pitch. It’s an add-on to get players who have the experience of promotion and getting out of this league.
Jay Turner-Cooke was the second deadline day signing to arrive at Prenton Park – with a loan deal being agreed from Newcastle United until the end of the season.
“I really like him. What we have to understand at Tranmere is that we will be the first loan. It’s sometimes hard for people to understand but where we are in the pecking order, we will be their first loan and then they tend to move up to the Championship, or if the big clubs feel like they have a big talent on their hands and it’s a second loan, we’ll struggle to get them. We have worked really hard to get him as he is very good and very highly rated. It now gives us options as there’s competitions for places.”
“You have to get the balance right between development and trying to win games. If you’re going to develop somebody else’s young players then they have to be good – as we’ve seen with [Paul] Glatzel – we know that we aren’t their parent club, but they’ll come in, create competition and help your team win games. Supporters want to see the stage where we’re winning games and also developing players.”
“They’re in the squad for Saturday, apart from Jay [Turner-Cooke]. Jay has a ‘return to play’ phase, where he’s just been injured, so they have certain criteria to make sure that he is fit and not to return to the treatment room. It’s nothing major and he will be with us from Thursday.”
Harvey Saunders made his debut at home to Leyton Orient on Saturday – and the manager expressed his delight with his performance and what he can bring to the team.
“He was one who we wanted to bring in the summer, but we couldn’t get it over the line. We kept monitoring him and watching him, and to see if he became available in January, and he did, and we’re delighted to have him here. He’s pacy, he’s aggressive, scores goals and has a lot of ambition – he will get fitter with the tempo of training and games – but we have other strikers here – Jake Burton, Kane Hemmings, Joel Mumbongo – who will create competition.”
The Whites come into the match after a massive 1-0 win over the league leaders, Leyton Orient, at Prenton Park last weekend.
“I think we’ve been playing well for a while now, but for a lot of people, results will always dictate the performance. My job as a coach and manager is to look at it and think that we’ve been playing well – and to look at the stats and look to back that up to where we can improve. The games against Walsall and Sutton, I think that we deserved to win, but as I said at the time, we weren’t good enough in front of goal, but we played that well against Leyton Orient but put the ball in the net and kept the clean sheet.”
It's a busy February for the team, with seven games over the month – a four week period which could determine the success of Tranmere’s campaign.
“We want to play games and that’s what it’s all about. February will give us a good chance to do that – there’s a lot of travelling but we’ve got a good group of players and a good squad who can come in over any injuries or suspensions or losses of form which may come up, and we’ve got good competition for places, and now we can use 5 subs, we can make subs to rest legs or to give you a better chance of winning, so we’ve got good options. If the Stockport game was today, everyone would be available, except for those long-term injuries.”
Stockport County is next up for Micky Mellon’s side, and the Rovers boss commented on County’s spending and success since their promotion back to the Football League last summer.
“I want this to be said in the right way, but Stockport have heavily invested in their group. To be fair to Dave [Challinor], he’s invested very well – a bit differently to what we had to do when we came up – but he’s brought in good players, and you can see that when you watch them play. You can see with the results they get and where they are in the league that it will be a tough place to go and I’m really looking forward to it – we are taking a big following, Stockport have good fans – it will be close to a full house, and we have to go there and perform.”