Injuries mount up again as Rovers prepare for Gills trip


Tranmere will be without at least four first team players as they head to Gillingham on Saturday desperate to avoid the season petering out again. 

Despite an unbeaten run of three games, Rovers have left themselves a mountain to climb if they are to mount the play-off challenge that was expected back in August. And now, that challenge has become tougher again.

During last week’s 1-1 draw with Hartlepool, Tranmere lost both Paul Lewis and Brad Walker to injury. Lewis limped off early on after a collision with the Pools keeper which left him writhing in agony, seemingly with an ankle injury.

Fellow midfielder Walker, making his first start since his January switch from Port Vale, was then forced off in the second half. Micky Mellon has confirmed both injuries are “long-term”, meaning there is now some doubt as to whether either will play again this season.

They will join two of Rovers most valuable attacking players on the sidelines. Forward and captain Kane Hemmings remains out injured as does winger Kieron Morris. For a team already struggling for goals, it’s less than ideal. 

The only glimmer of hope on the injury front is concerning striker Charlie Jolley.  The ex-Wigan man was injured just minutes into Rovers’ first pre-season friendly back in July but did return to training last month and will likely see first team action this month. We did hear murmurings this week that there is a slim chance he will be included in the squad this weekend, but it seems unlikely.

So, where does this leave Rovers for the tricky trip to Gillingham? 

The only thing that can be assured is that Rovers will line-up with veteran goalkeeper Joe Murphy in goal. The Irishman has reclaimed the first-choice keeper spot in recent weeks having started the campaign as third choice. 

Providing they haven’t picked up any injuries in training, Turnbull, Davies, Bristow and Cogley will all play, the latter two both scoring when the two teams met at Prenton Park in August. 

Lee O’Connor or Chris Merrie will both be pushing for a start in midfield to replace the injured Brad Walker, while Regan Hendry has been poor in his last few outings and so may also see his place under threat. However, when on his game, Hendry is one of Tranmere’s most creative outlets.

Mellon may be tempted to shift Merrie to a right-wing position as he has twice recently. While it’s a slightly odd position for a left-footed holding midfielder, he has played it quite well. Josh Hawkes will almost certainly start on the left wing.

Who replaces Paul Lewis playing with, or just behind, Harvey Saunders? Many will hope Jake Burton is given an opportunity to start, he should certainly be ahead of Joel Mumbongo based off recent performances. 

On-loan duo Jay Turner-Cooke and Logan Chalmers will both be hoping they are given the nod, though the latter seems to have drifted down the pecking order.

Predicted line-up (4-4-2):  Murphy, Dacres-Cogley, Bristow, Turnbull, Davies, Merrie, Hawkes, O’Connor, Hendry, Burton, Saunders.

You may also like

Hot News