ALDRIDGE TARGETS TOON STAR
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Howey could be used to help Tranmere reach their Wembley aspirations as Aldridge is desperate to bring in a Premiership defender on loan before his side meet Bolton in the second leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final when they defend a 1-0 first leg aggregate lead.
The Wirral club are in the unfortunate position of having their entire first-choice defence of Clint Hill, Dave Challinor, Graeme Allen and Andy Thompson out through injury and suspension and Aldridge is targeting an international-class player.
The Tranmere boss watched fit-again Howey play for the reserves against Liverpool on Monday and although the Merseysiders won 1-0 Howey played well and lasted all 90 minutes. Because the former England international has been rehabilitating from his Achilles injury suffered last April in the semi-final of the FA Cup against Tottenham all season he has not played in this year`s Worthington Cup and is therefore eligible to play and as Newcastle are already out of the competition there is no reason why Newcastle boss Bobby Robson would decline Aldridge`s request.
Aldridge said: "Defensively it`s a disaster. We need to bring in a player of quality and experience on loan.
""It won`t be easy to find someone who hasn`t appeared in the Worthington Cup for his own club and is eligible to play for us. The normal financial restrictions we operate don`t necessarily apply in this case. It`s not a gamble."
Howey was the only player to fit the profile as his defensive partner on Monday, Alain Goma, is cup-tied. The Frenchman played against Birmingham City in the competition while Liverpool fielded a youthful defence lacking in Premiership experience.