Four successive league victories and a position in the National League playoff collective, it has been a productive month for Tranmere Rovers and it seems the New Year could be even better.
With a reliable back four, along with Scott Davies flying high in the search for the Golden Glove award, the forward line bagging 14 in their last four fixtures, it is a struggle for any player to force their way into a side in such fine form.
However, this may be the headache that manager Micky Mellon will have dreamt about two months ago when his makeshift side crumbled against Peterborough United 5-0 with the Scot left with no central midfield players for their upcoming fixtures. Times have changed.
The recruitment of Ollie Banks from Oldham Athletic, has provided a stable and dominant figure in the middle of the park, allowing Connor Jennings to roam forward freely and Ollie Norburn to release his inner Xabi Alonso game-after-game.
What may be an even more mouth-watering realisation is that this is a Tranmere side absent of James Wallace, Ben Tollitt and Jack Dunn with all three players expected to return in the early New Year.
Recruitment and fitting in Tollitt
Mellon’s recruitment has been a real breath of fresh air following some summer signings failing to live up to their hype and reputation, no more panic loans, but hungry talents that have been allowed to shine in a white shirt playing free football.
While loan-deals are set to expire in January, it would be foolish to not fight to hold onto talents such as Banks and Mottley-Henry until at least May, with Tranmere on the verge of crashing into the top four over the next few weeks.
However, Mellon has made it clear how much he rates young Tollitt who was nominated for the ‘Rising Star’ of last season by the North West Football Awards, with the former Portsmouth winger hailed as one of the most exciting talents in the division.
The formation has often been one that utilises just one winger in the form of Dylan Mottley-Henry, the ability to have another equal talent on the opposing wing with the pace of full-back Eddie Clarke should serve a terrifying prospect for the opposition.
Why change it if it’s not broken?
While Tranmere are enjoying of a honeymoon period, a lot of their success can be contributed to temporary signings and if they (fingers crossed) advance into League Two for the following season, being there on borrowed talent could be a worry.
With the likes of Tollitt and Clarke, local lads that arguably should be the focal point of a club with such humble tradition such as Tranmere rather than those players that many clubs turn to as a ‘temporary fix’.
Although success is often examined and scrutinised and winning is obviously a much nicer feeling than losing, the question over if this success would be possible without those interim imports is a complex one, but one that unless transfers are made permanent should be a short lived sunrise of satisfaction.