TRAFFORD FC have signed Tranmere Rovers defender Evan Gumbs and Ashton United winger Joel Melia on short-term loan deals.

The Evo-Stik First Division North club have boosted their squad ahead of Saturday’s local derby against Radcliffe Borough at Shawe View.

Former Everton and Liverpool trainee Gumbs, 18, joins for a month ‘to gain further first-team experience’ according to the National League outfit.

20-year-old Melia only arrived at Hurst Cross from Barnoldswick in the summer but has now dropped down having failed to make an appearance for the Evo-Stik Premier Division side so far.

The former Padiham player stepped up three divisions after being named Player of the Season in the North West Counties Division One in a side that narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign.

Amid interest from a host of clubs, the Burnley-based attacker chose Ashton because he thought they were ‘a really good team’ but, after a positive pre-season, has struggled to break into the team under joint managers Steve Halford and Paul Phillips.

Meanwhile, Gumbs – who can play at either right-back or centre-back – made his first-team Tranmere debut last November in a 19-minute cameo as a substitute in a 1-0 League Two defeat by Luton at Kenilworth Road.

The Runcorn-born teenager joined Rovers’ youth set-up in 2010 and is in his first year as a professional following two seasons as a scholar.

He also spent the first month of the campaign on loan at Evo-Stik Premier Division club Burscough but has found playing time hard to come by since returning to Prenton Park.

Tom Baker’s Trafford, who were relegated last season, sit 14th in the eighth tier of English football with 12 points from 12 league games so far.

By Adam Higgins

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