MANAGER Ronnie Moore is banking on loan striker Michael O'Halloran to add fresh legs to Tranmere's pursuit of success on the league and cup fronts.
The 21-year-old Glaswegian, who arrived at Prenton Park on a month's loan deal from Bolton Wanderers, can expect to see his first action in front of the home fans when Tranmere play host to Chesterfield in the FA Cup second round on Saturday. He made a positive impression on his Rovers debut, the 1-1 draw at Stevenage last weekend.
Moore believes O'Halloran has the pace and running power to worry opposing defences and give his team a different kind of threat in the absence of long-term casualty Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro.
"Michael is a shoulder player and he will be a threat," Moore said. "He will run the channels and get after any long balls we play from the back. He puts defenders under pressure and will cause our opponents problems."
The Tranmere manager even suggests he detects similarities in O'Halloran's game to the qualities of his own son, Ian Thomas Moore, as a young player.
Moore said: "Michael reminds me a bit of how our Ian played when he first started. They are similar in size although Ian was probably just a little bit quicker.
"We have not seen Michael in a situation where he's getting chances, having shots and forcing the goalkeeper to make saves, but that will come.
"He certainly put the opposition defenders under pressure at Stevenage. He did the job a bit like Akpa Akpro does it.
"I was pleased with his debut and I think we will see a bit more of him on Saturday, when we are attacking."
O'Halloran played alongside Jake Cassidy at Broadhall Way. With Tranmere's 11-goal leading scorer unavailable for the FA Cup, O'Halloran could well find himself paired with Cole Stockton or Adam McGurk against the Spireites.
Moore moved for O'Halloran on loan transfer deadline day because he is concerned that Cassidy can now be recalled by Wolves at any time and is, in any case, due to return to Molineux at the beginning of January.
Although yet to play a league game for Bolton, O'Halloran played eight League One games on loan to Sheffield United towards the end of last season.
Moore said: "We looked everywhere trying to get an experienced player on loan. It is near impossible to do.
"I have seen Michael a couple of times and (coach) John McMahon also saw him play. He's always impressed me.
"Bolton are not letting him out on loan because they want to get rid of him. They think highly of him. He is with us to get games, get some goals and improve his football."
Moore threw an extra ingredient into the mix by signing 18-year-old centre back prospect Donervorn (correct) Daniels on a month's loan from West Bromwich Albion last week.