Les is trying to look on the bright side. (©PAphotos)
by Paul Harper
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Pre-season at Prenton Park is well under way. It’s a time when, ideally, the players build up their fitness ahead of the long season.
Ironically, with physio Les Parry having been installed as the permanent manager at the club, Tranmere are suffering somewhat of an injury crisis in the lead up to the League One season start on August 7th.
Midfielders Alan Mahon and Ash Taylor are both going to be missing for a few months with knee injuries, whilst defenders Marlon Broomes and new signing Timothy Catholina are both suffering from Achilles problems.
I’ve never known so many injuries through a pre-season campaign. Hopefully, Les hasn’t forgotten where his roots are or hung up his magic sponge too soon because we could do with these players back on the field as soon as possible.
To other clubs, like Chelsea or Manchester United, the loss of four players may not form a crisis. But this is Tranmere we’re talking about. Lack of funds means that the playing squad is going to be wafer thin for the coming season, so we can ill-afford a spate of injuries.
Earlier this summer, Parry became a doctor after completing a PhD at John Moores University in ‘Sports injuries in professional soccer and the effects of detraining’. We’re going to need his knowledge and his 20 years experience as the club’s physiotherapist to help keep the players fit and healthy, on top of his management skills.
For Tranmere to be successful in the forthcoming season, they need their strongest team out on the pitch for as many games as possible. An injury to a key player could show up the fragility of having a small squad.
But the same can be said of many teams in the lower reaches of the Football League. The majority of the clubs in League 1, with the possible exception of Southampton, Swindon and Huddersfield, will be running on a shoestring budget and have smaller playing squads. We’re all in the same boat so it’s a case of who will best manage their resources.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.