Tranmere have moved to sign former loan star Ollie Banks on a free transfer after the player left Oldham Athletic following a loan spell at Swindon Town.
Banks is a familiar name to Tranmere fans having joined the club on loan in November as Rovers languished in the lower reaches of the National League. He had a very strong spell with Micky Mellon’s side, and following his release by the Latics, he has penned a two-year deal at Prenton Park.
He’s a player that will likely slot straight in to the void left by the influential Jeff Hughes who has returned to Ireland to see out his career with hometown club Larne.
Speaking to the official Tranmere Rovers website, boss Micky Mellon said:
“I’m delighted to bring Ollie back to the Club on a permanent basis.
“We saw during his loan period with us last season just what a talented player he is. He made a very positive impression on us as a coaching staff and also with the supporters.
“I’m really pleased to add him to the group and am looking forward to working with him again.”
How Banks’ Tranmere impact helped turn season around
Ollie made his Tranmere debut in the 1-0 defeat at Gateshead, going inches away from netting a winner before the home side countered to steal the points themselves.
That was to be the catalyst for a six-game unbeaten run though as Banks, and fellow loanee Dylan Mottley-Henry, helped transform a season that was threatening to descend in to disaster.
Rovers were cruelly pegged back in his second game at eventual champions Macclesfield, but Banks was a stand-out performer. His frustration at a missed opportunity by Gerry McDonagh in stoppage time emphasised his desire and will to win.
The next five games resulted in victory with Tranmere netting a staggering 18 goals in those five matches alone to get a promotion challenge back on course. A 100% record in December sent Rovers in to the New Year energised, but they opened 2018 with a heavy defeat at Fylde.
Banks would score Tranmere’s only goal that day, and in the days that followed, Oldham recalled him from Prenton Park much to the displeasure of fans, and the player’s own father. He had clearly enjoyed his spell in Wirral, and thrived off playing in Micky Mellon’s team.
He would later join League Two Swindon on loan and had a solid spell at the County Ground, however, it always seemed likely Banks would return to Prenton Park once the season ended, and so it proved.
With the gap between the National League and League Two smaller than ever, Rovers’ fans should expect Banks to be a key player next term.
He’s the second summer signing following the arrival of Mark Ellis from Carlisle.