THE path between Goodison Park and Tranmere Rovers is a well worn one.
But recently it has been Everton’s rising youngsters -–and not those coming to the end of their careers – who have crossed the Mersey.
After Jose Baxter’s loan spell between September 2011 and January last year, James Wallace joined Rovers for the final three months of last season.
Both were deemed successes for Tranmere and the development of each player.
Baxter was recalled and although offered a new contract by Everton, he left to join Oldham Athletic.
Wallace signed permanently for Tranmere in the summer and was installed as captain.
It is therefore understandable that Everton’s big hope, Ross Barkley, appears to be a suitable candidate to follow in their footsteps.
Manager Ronnie Moore agrees and can see how a loan spell at Prenton Park could be beneficial to Tranmere and the player.
Barkley, 19, has featured just four times for David Moyes’ men this season and has been sent out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
Hopes are high for the Wavertree teenager but gaining regular first-team experience in the competitive world of senior football remains vital to his development.
Tranmere could provide a base for that growth.
Moore agrees but admits there is a caveat. I think you are right but them type of players will only come if you go up,” he said.
“The Premier League teams only want those players to go to the Championship.
“If we do go up it gives us greater scope to add quality in but if we don’t then we have to stay at the same sort of market we are in.”
Improved performances from the one served up in the 2-0 defeat at Walsall on Tuesday night are a must if promotion is to remain on the agenda.
Goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, called into the Wales squad for World Cup qualifiers with Scotland and Croatia, says the significance of every game between now and the end of the season cannot be underplayed.
“Every game we play from now on is the biggest game of the season,” he said.
“We all know how competitive this division is, anyone can beat anyone and we’ve given ourselves a chance.”
Injury problems – the worst Moore says he has ever encountered – have been a constant headache for Rovers this season.
Fon Williams admits it has been difficult to sustain their push with such misfortune.
“Considering all the injuries we’ve had it’s been a real big effort by everyone to keep us where we are,” he added.
“It seems to have been quite tiring since Christmas because of the big ask on the squad. We lost quite a lot of players with injuries and suspensions did not help.
“It’s been really difficult and the luck has not been with us but the boys who have come into the side and played have been terrific.”