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Durnin’s bid to win Stanley spot

WELL-travelled striker John Durnin continued to make an impression as Stanley held Second Division Tranmere.

STRIKER Brian Welch against Dean Calcutt
STRIKER Brian Welch against Dean Calcutt


WELL-travelled striker John Durnin continued to make an impression as Stanley held Second Division Tranmere.

The former West Brom, Portsmouth and Oxford hitman came on in the second half and boss John Coleman admitted he will make a decision over the 37-year-old's Stanley future soon.

He said: "John looks comfortable on the ball and we will sit down in the next week or so and look where we are going with the squad. Some decisions have to be made soon so hopefully it will all be sorted out."

There was also a welcome boost for the 636 crowd who got their first look at Paul Cook at home. The ex-Burnley midfielder came on at the break after recovering from an ankle injury - he had played in the 1-0 victory at Marine last Thursday.

The manager said: "Paul brings enthusiasm to the team which fires everyone up. Now it is just a case of working on his fitness."

Tranmere were lively with former Burnley trialist Eugene Dadi up front, who was trying to impress the Rovers boss Ray Mathias. Steve Halford and Robbie Williams had a tough job trying to keep him quiet as he got on the end of a couple of crosses and tested keeper Jamie Speare with one header which Speare did well to tip over.

At the other end, Rory Prendergast brought the best out of Rovers keeper John Achterberg with a swerving shot while Achterberg denied Andy Gouck.

The Reds boss had started with Lutel James and Brian Welch up front with Paul Mullin still unavailable but Coleman changed things around at half-time, bringing on another trialist Hugh McAuley along with Durnin.

Alan Navarro hit the bar with a free kick while former Cheltenham midfielder McAuley - who started his career at Liverpool and lists Northwich Victoria among his former clubs - had a great chance to break the deadlock.

A James effort was saved but came out to McAuley who seemed to have the goal at his mercy. However, defender Gareth Roberts dived in front of the ball and deflected the shot wide. Roberts was again Tranmere's saviour clearing a Durnin blast off the line although the Reds claimed it had crossed it.

"We are getting there, trying out new things and so far I have been pleased," said Coleman. "We are getting fitter and improving."

Meanwhile, a mixture of reserves and first-teamers lost to Alsager 6-5 on Monday night. And they lost 3-1 at Fleetwood on Tuesday with Jonathan Smith scoring Stanley's goal.

"It is difficult mixing the reserves and first team," said Coleman. "I don't like losing any matches but I've learned a lot about the players in them - the fitness levels and things like that. I also got the chance to have a good look at the trialists and the decisions will be made over the next few days."

Goalkeeper Matthew Parry is another whose Stanley future will be decided soon.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
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