Tranmere Rovers are a club on the up ahead of Mansfield Town visit

Tranmere Rovers Manager Micky Mellon: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Sky Bet League Two match Tranmere Rovers -V- Mansfield Town at Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229
Tranmere Rovers Manager Micky Mellon: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Sky Bet League Two match Tranmere Rovers -V- Mansfield Town at Prenton Park, Birkenhead, Merseyside, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

After a nightmare period in their history, Saturday’s visitors Tranmere Rovers look to be a club on the up once more.

They trail Mansfield Town by nine points but are two points outside the play-off zone in 10th position and enjoying a decent first season back in the Football League.

The 2000 League Cup finalists’ fortunes plummeted as they suffered successive relegations and as recently as September 2017 were 18th in the National League, where three years of non-League football saw them suffer £3.5m losses.

But with the club’s former midfielder Mark Palios now as chairman to back astute manager Micky Mellon, the Wirral club are flying high again after winning last season’s National League play-off final at Wembley, despite playing with 10 men for 89 minutes.

Mellon this week signed a new deal until May 2021.

When Tranmere were in League One in 2014-15 they had 1,800 season ticket holders. This season the figure has doubled to 3,600.

Despite the recent 7-0 FA Cup mauling by Spurs, the tie earned them good money to put into the promotion push pot.

Since the window opened they have signed 36-year-old Rochdale midfielder David Perkins on an 18-month contract, having previously worked with Mellon when the Rovers boss was assistant manager at Barnsley.

Perkins helped Wigan win the League One title last season before leaving to join Rochdale, for whom he made 21 appearances.

This week they took Preston midfielder Ben Pringle on loan until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old had been on a season-long loan at Grimsby Town, but an agreement to terminate the deal allowed him to sign for another club after 18 appearances for the Mariners.

Pringle has only made 14 appearances for Preston since joining from Fulham in 2016 and none for more than two years.

Rovers have also signed former West Brom striker Ishmael Miller and Sheffield United midfielder Harvey Gilmour on permanent deals.

Miller, 31, has just been released by Oldham and has agreed a contract until the end of this season, though he did limp off last weekend after just 28 minutes with a hamstring problem and is touch and go for the weekend.

Gilmour, 20, spent the first half of the season on loan at Prenton Park and has signed a deal until 2020.

Striker James Norwood has already chalked up 20 goals and Rovers have been boosted by the return of influential former Chesterfield midfielder Ollie Banks, who has been out injured since November.

Former Northern Ireland international midfielder Luke McCullough’s loan from Doncaster Rovers has been extended until the end of the season.

But former Stags defender Richie Sutton, who helped them to promotion, has just moved on to Morecambe.

Having won 3-1 at Cheltenham the week before, Rovers suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Swindon Town last weekend.