TRANMERE manager Les Parry steps up his search for a midfield signing this week – and may have to find a long-term solution to the goalkeeping issue at Prenton Park.
Parry plans to take a look at two trialist midfielders in a reserve game against Morecambe tomorrow. One is Ibrahim Sissoko, formerly of West Bromwich Albion and French club Troyes AC, who is the younger brother of Mohamed Sissoko, the Juventus midfielder who also played for Liverpool and Valencia. The second trialist is Callum Harrison, who is a free agent after failing to make a breakthrough at Sheffield Wednesday.
Meanwhile Parry is anxiously awaiting the results of a scan to the shoulder/arm injury sustained by on loan goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen last week.
Neilsen went back to Manchester City after suffering the injury on international duty with the Faroe Islands and Parry fears the 23-year-old could be facing a lengthy lay-off.
City released Nielsen to Rovers on a six-month loan at the start of the season but the keeper has played just one League One game, on the opening day of the season against Oldham Athletic.
An injury sustained on international duty with the Faroe Islands in August put him out of action for a month. Once recovered, Neilsen went straight back into action for the Faroes and suffered the second injury.
Joe Collister, an 18-year-old homegrown prospect from Hoylake, has been covering the Tranmere number one spot in Nielsen’s absence but Parry says he may have to consider a longer term solution.
Parry still has a vacancy in his squad for a midfielder signed on a permanent basis. Some of the gaps in his injury-hit squad are currently being filled by loan players.
Ibrahim, like his brother, is French-born of Malian dissent. But while Mohamed has played at top flight level, Ibrahim struggled to give his career a lift-off.
Parry said: “There is room in the budget for another midfield player and we have two trialists who are hoping to join us. We have a spot open for a midfield player because at the moment we have four players – John Welsh, Paul McLaren, Joss Labadie and Ryan Fraughan – competing for three places in the team. That’s not enough depth.
“We have always been looking to bring in another midfielder. It’s just that we have been unable to find the right one.”
Parry added: “Morecambe play their reserve games up in Kendal Town in the Lakes. It’s a long way to go and we have to get there a little bit early to help them clear the sheep off the pitch.”
John Rooney, the 19-year-old brother of the England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, is training with Tranmere but Parry says the midfielder is not on trial.
The manager explained: “John is training with his because he wants to stay fit before he goes to play in the USA around Christmas time. He’s a half decent player.”
John Rooney, formerly an Academy player at Everton, played 46 games in two seasons with Macclesfield Town, prior to his release by the League Two club in May. More recently he had trials with Major League Soccer clubs Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers and is due to return to the USA for further trials at the turn of the year.
Rovers have a well-established connection to the Rooney family. Thomas Rooney, Wayne’s cousin, progressed through the youth ranks at Prenton Park. After failing to make a first-team breakthrough he joined Macclesfield Town, playing one game in the 2004/05 season before settling into a career in non-league football.