Injuries, injuries, injuries, it’s been the story of Tranmere’s season and it shows no sign of ending any time soon.
Boss Micky Mellon has had to endure these problems all season long, unable to select from a fully fit squad.
January additions Peter Clarke and Morgan Feeney were brought in to try and tighten up what has been a far too leaky Rovers defence so far this season.
Clarke looked like the dominant, experienced head we needed to shore things up somewhat, offering leadership on top of his ability and there were promising signs. Then he picked up an injury and has been missing for the past few games and is a doubt for Saturday’s home game against Portsmouth.
Feeney arrived on loan from Everton on transfer deadline day. With very little senior football behind him, he was thrown into the side through necessity at Bolton and has picked up a hamstring injury which looks like ruling him out until April.
In an attacking sense, Corey Blackett-Taylor was beginning to show signs of the potential he has to offer, impressing in games against Premier League opposition in the form of Watford and Manchester United. Then he picks up a shin injury.
Mellon is likely to be without each of the three aforementioned players (Feeney definitely ruled out) for Saturday’s game, as the need for three points grows in importance which each game that passes by.
Ollie Banks is likely to miss the next two or three matches too through injury while Mark Ellis’ long-term absence sees no sign of ending any time soon.
The only plus point on the injury front is news that young Evan Gumbs came through 45 minutes for the reserves recently. He is certainly someone who deserves a break from the bad luck he has suffered and hopefully he can be back to match fitness and contending for a spot in the first team in the near future again.
Injuries have been a frustrating factor for Rovers all campaign long, adding to what has been overall a frustrating season thus far.
Saturday will be another incredibly tough test for the players Micky Mellon is able to pick from.
Portsmouth, after a dodgy looking first half to the season, are flying now. While Tranmere are the most out of form team in English football right now, Pompey are the complete opposite, victors in each of their last eight matches in all competitions and currently sit in the play-off zone.
Given those statistics, the bookies have Kenny Jackett’s side as strong favourites to win at Prenton Park, but all good runs have to come to an end at some point, right? That goes for bad runs too, I hope!
The players have to keep believing and fighting for every point they can possibly pick up and, hopefully, the first league win of 2020 will come this weekend.