Mark Duffy is currently training with Tranmere Rovers, hoping to prove to Micky Mellon that he is worthy of a contract for their upcoming League Town campaign.
Duffy is a household name in the last decade of Football League action, one game away from a combined 400 appearances in the three tiers.
His best years came playing a pivotal role in Sheffield United’s march from League One to the Premier League in three seasons, since then age has caught up with him a touch and this speculation follows his release from Fleetwood Town.
He managed just eight starts for Simon Grayson’s men in League One last term but will be desperate to find a cause he can contribute to, entering the twilight of his career. Rovers have lost the experience of James Vaughan and Danny Lloyd this summer, Duffy could be just the man to fill that void.
Super White Army have impressive depth in wide and attacking midfield areas with the likes of Liam Feeney, Callum McManaman and Corey Blackett-Taylor. However Duffy provides a different angle of attack and type of threat, carving out his own niche as potentially good foil for those three widemen.
In their 3-2 on aggregate defeat to Morecambe in the play-off semi finals last season, Rovers had 75% possession in the first leg and 66% in the second. Yet could only find a way to breach the Shrimps backline twice, Duffy’s experience and intelligent ball manipulation could have been invaluable in this kind of match, to pick the lock when the opposition look to sit back in a low block. Such that, if Rovers compete towards the top of League Two, could come about quite often in 2021/22.
Duffy still has a huge appetite for the game at 35 and it would not come as a shock if he was one of the best trainers at Fleetwood Town last season despite his limited first team opportunities.
Setting a strong example to Tranmere’s host of young players, particularly in attacking positions like Jake Burton and Charlie Jolley, would certainly have a positive impact on the squad.
In the last few years, Duffy has been dropping back to play in deeper positions far more frequently than earlier in his career, as is common as players get older.
Looking comfortable as a central midfielder, this could work well if Tranmere are going to look to dominate possession, with a potential combination of Jay Spearing and Mark Duffy boasting outstanding experience and skill for League Two level.
Despite the additions of Ryan Watson and Chris Merrie, central midfield is still an area that Rovers would like to address, Duffy’s ability to occupy multiple roles for the side, could convince Mellon to take him on.