It’s a town that is perhaps more renowned for its giant Scandinavian furniture store than for its contribution to the beautiful game, but Warrington Town have taken over from the likes of Motherwell, Stockport and Chesterfield in being inundated with former Tranmere players.
In the 1990s, Scottish side Motherwell had the likes of Ged Brannan, Pat Nevin and Tony Thomas.
During the 2006/07 season, Chesterfield collected former Tranmere players for fun, with Paul Hall, Wayne Allison, Reuben Hazell and Shane Nicholson on their books.
More recently still, Stockport boasted Andy Robinson, Abdulai Baggie and Kayode Odejayi among their numbers.
Today, the stock-piling of players with links to Rovers is taking place down in the Evo Stik Premier Division, the seventh tier of English football.
When Jay McEveley joined the Yellows on loan earlier this month, he became the fourth first team player in the current Warrington squad to have played for Tranmere.
However, since then another has joined in the shape of Adam Dugdale, and if you dig a little deeper, the links to Prenton Park – even if tenuous – go still further.
Warrington Town’s Tranmere contingent
In joining Warrington, McEveley travelled down a well-travelled path.
The Cheshire club’s current manager is former Rovers assistant, and briefly caretaker manager, Paul Carden. Clearly, he is a respected and trusted coach who Tranmere have been keen to assist in his plans to improve Warrington by sending some players their way.
In addition to McEveley, highly-rated young goalkeeper Luke Pilling is also on loan at the club and earning very positive reviews. Pilling is out of contract at Prenton Park in the summer and has been restricted to just one sub appearance in the league for Rovers this season.
When Scott Davies picked up an injury, Micky Mellon opted to sign Rhys Taylor on loan rather than give the young Welsh stopper the nod, and subsequently Pilling joined Warrington.
Winger Devarn Green, who himself only joined Tranmere in late October, is out on loan at Warrington too, and getting valuable game time.
Earlier in the season, Eliot Rokka also had a brief stint on loan under Carden’s stewardship.
Other familiar faces at Warrington Town
Elsewhere in the squad, long-serving former Tranmere midfielder and captain Steve Jennings is also now a Warrington player. Jennings left Prenton Park last summer after his contract expired and he initially joined Southport.
However, his progress with the Sandgrounders was limited by injury and he was restricted to just 12 league appearances. Jennings was allowed to join Warrington on loan in November, a move that subsequently became a permanent one on a free transfer.
Like Jennings, Adam Dugdale had two spells with Tranmere, all be it much briefer ones. Last week, he left Southport to join Warrington as well, taking the number of players in their squad with first team links to Rovers to five. Six if you include the non-playing role of Carden.
And if you want to find a couple more links within the Warrington squad that bring you back to Prenton Park, then you can – although not quite as obvious.
One interesting one is young forward Dylan Vassallo. The youngster joined Rovers through the Tranmere Rovers College in 2016. He did so well, that by pre-season in that same year he was training with the first team squad under Gary Brabin and Paul Carden and scored in a friendly for Rovers.
He didn’t earn a professional playing contract with Tranmere, but he did with Warrington and has also just been signed up to Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, such is his promise.
That brings us on to the final Tranmere link at Warrington, and it’s their midfielder Gerard Kinsella. He is the brother of Michael Kinsella, the man titled as Manager of the Player Development Academy as part of the Tranmere Rovers College, and the man responsible for bringing the aforementioned Vassallo to Tranmere’s college programme a couple of years ago.
So, how are Warrington doing?
With so much Tranmere influence, you may be curious to know how things are going for Paul Carden’s team this season.
Pretty well, as it happens. His experienced side currently sit in second place in the league, four points behind leaders Altrincham. There are two promotion places to play for, one to the league winners and one via the play-offs.
If Warrington do earn promotion, they will be playing in the National League North next season, hopefully two levels below Rovers.
We’ll update you on their progress.