Following Andy Cook’s move to Walsall last week, Rovers are officially in need of a new target man to partner James Norwood. So, who is available and could just fit the bill for Micky Mellon?
The completion of the Football League play-offs at Wembley yesterday signalled the end of the domestic football season. That means one thing – transfer speculation will go in to overdrive.
A key position for Micky Mellon to fill is centre forward following Cookie’s move to the Saddlers. While James Alabi and George Waring are still under contract, it seems highly unlikely either will be good enough, nor offered the opportunity, to lead Tranmere’s frontline.
With that in mind, here are a few totally speculative suggestions of physical centre forwards that are out of contract or available for transfer this summer.
James Hanson – Sheffield United
Hanson rose to prominence during Bradford City’s cup runs of a couple of years ago, but the giant centre forward is almost certainly looking for a new club this summer. He left Bradfird to join Sheffield United in January 2017 but lasted only 12 months at Bramall Lane. He was loaned to Bury for the final months of last season but failed to find the net in 17 games as Bury were relegated from League One.
Still only 30, Hanson could be the perfect replacement for Cook if physical stature is the only attribute. Standing at 6ft 4in tall and a perfect focal point for the attack, he has never been a prolific goal scorer himself but has been effective in partnerships.
He’s been told he can leave Sheffield United this summer, and while under contract, it’s unlikely the Blades would command a fee for him.
John Akinde – Barnet
Another player who is available but remains contracted if Barnet forward John Akinde. The powerful 28-year-old was transfer listed at his own request following relegation from the Football League, though he would probably command some sort of transfer fee. The fee may rule Tranmere out.
The former Bristol City man has a tonne of Football League experience and also has a good goal scoring record; he netted 87 times in 166 appearances for Barnet.
Danny Rowe – AFC Fylde
Rowe is a player Tranmere know all about after last season’s promotion campaign. Rowe had a superb season himself at Fylde, scoring 28 goals and ending the season just one league goal short of Andy Cook who won the golden boot.
While he is a big and strong striker, he’s got a slightly different style to that of Cook. He would be a real asset of Tranmere could secure him though.
He’s a player in high demand and will have no end of suitors across League One and Two. Already this month a host of the National League’s leading performers have secured moves to the Football League, and you’d expect to see Rowe do the same.
Kristian Dennis – Chesterfield
Dennis almost certainly doesn’t fit the target man role; however, he would be one of the likeliest on this list to get among the goals on a regular basis. The 28-year-old hit 21 goals for Chesterfield last season as the Spireites said goodbye to the EFL, and while a fee would be necessary, a whole host of clubs are now thought to be interested in signing the forward.
Notts County and Bradford City are thought to be among the front runners after Port Vale had two bids rejected last week, but Chesterfield have agreed to transfer list the player as they face the realisation that he will likely leave. A bid of around £100,000 is likely required to get him.
Cole Stockton – Carlisle United
Last but not least, there seems to be a bit of speculation around online that Cole Stockton could return to Prenton Park from Carlisle. The striker kept Cook out of the team just over 12 months ago as he ended the season in fine goal scoring form. He left to join Hearts last summer before signing for Carlisle in January.
He scored on goal in 12 appearances for the Brunton Park club, but following the departure of manager Keith Curle, perhaps Stockton will be surplus to requirements. With Connor Jennings signing his new contract last week, will Micky Mellon be tempted to revert to the highly-effective front three from the 2016/17 campaign of Stockton, Jennings and Norwood?