Andy Owens is hoping to put his nickname ‘serial trialist’ behind him and clinch a longer deal with the Reds.
The 21-year-old defender got his chance to stake a claim for a first-team spot at Southend on Saturday, coming on for the last 10 minutes and helping the 10-men Stanley hold on for a 1-1 draw.
He signed a one-year deal at the Crown Ground in the summer but a hamstring niggle has meant he’s spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.
However he hopes he is over that and the ex-Liverpool man can win a first-team place and finally establish himself at a club.
He began his career at Liverpool, went on to Stoke and can list Stafford, Altrincham, Rhyl, Barrow, Morecambe and many more as clubs that he has tried to impress.
But probably his main ‘claim to fame’ at the moment is that he is one of the footballers who has attended former England manager Glenn Hoddle’s Football Academy in Spain.
Owens signed a two-year-deal at Hoddle’s academy, set up in 2008 for footballers released from Premiership and Championship clubs looking to find a way back into football.
Owens said: "It was good at the academy but it is a totally different game out there, it’s played differently as it’s passed out from the keeper and, when you come back here, it’s a lot more physical.
"Luckily for me, I was a lot more physical than some of the lads over there so coming back to England suited my type of game more.
"I had signed a two-year deal at the academy and in the first year I trained out there. There are a lot of good players in Spain but I had done okay and got a few clubs asking about me.
"But Glenn is trying to make it a business out there so he was asking for money or compensation for me.
"A few clubs said they were interested but then couldn’t have me because of the money, so I have had a lot of frustration this year.
"I must have been to about 20 clubs on trial and some said yes you are good but not good enough to pay that kind of money for.
"When I came here, the lads called me serial trialist as I had that many training kits from different clubs. I think I had about six kits on. I am hoping that’s a thing of the past now.
"My contract ran out with the academy and, when I got offered a contract here, I signed it straight away."
Owens did start at Tranmere in the ill-fated Johnstone Paints Trophy and came on in the 3-0 win over Macclesfield in the league.
But since then he has struggled to get into the squad with a hamstring injury keeping him sidelined. In the meantime, Tom Smyth and Peter Murphy had their opportunities – but now Owens is hoping it’s his turn.
"There seem to be chances at this time of the year with sendings off and I got my chance to be on the bench and come on at Southend because of Phil Edwards’ suspension.
"There are always lots of chances in football and you have just got to take them. I have got a year’s contract but it will go quickly so it’s important I get my place in the team and help us to win a few as we need a win at the moment."
He admits he did see his name up in lights in the final minutes of the Roots Hall game as, with Stanley down to 10 men, Sean Hessey’s free kick sailed through a sea of bodies with keeper Glenn Morris seeing it late and just keeping hold of the ball.
"I was waiting for the keeper to spill it," he said.
"I was hoping I would get the winner and would be stood talking about that but the main aim is to play regularly and then I would like to score a few goals."