HE IS big, strong and relishes an aerial duel. Standing at 6ft 5in tall, Enoch Showunmi is a giant of a man in every sense.
As the focal point of Tranmere Rovers attacks, it is the Nigerian international who will arguably pose the biggest threat to Sheffield United’s backline at Prenton Park tomorrow.
What Showunmi lacks in guile he makes up for with sheer brute strength. His role is to lead the line and bring his team mates into the contest as much as physically possible. He relies on quality service to thrive at this level.
Along with long-serving defender Ian Goodison, Showunmi is one of Rovers most influential performers and his experience will be vital in the nine months ahead. Goodison is expected to be passed fit for the clash with United despite a bad cut to his head in their controversial 3-2 loss at Notts County.
Indeed, it is County who have had three offers rejected for Showunmi this summer. Rovers boss Les Parry is determined to hang on to the talismanic striker, who top-scored with 13 goals in all competition last term, and revealed recently that they have turned down three bids from the Magpies for their reigning player of the season, ranging from £75,000-£125,000.
“He’s not going anywhere,” insisted Parry. “Enoch for us last season was a massive player and once we get him going he’ll be another massive player.”
Showunmi fractured his leg in April but the 29-year-old made a speedy recovery from the injury and, although he missed the opening day victory over newly-promoted Chesterfield, he made his comeback as a second-half substitute at Doncaster Rovers in the first round of the Carling Cup.
His contract runs out at Tranmere at the end of the season and he is reportedly interesting Bournemouth too.
“I had a good season here last year and when you have good seasons you attract interest,” said Showunmi, who had a brief loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday three years ago. “I’ll just see what the club wants to do, but I’m happy to stay.”
While Showunmi is still looking for his first goal of the season, manager Parry will be forced into making a minimum of two changes to his starting line-up tomorrow, with David Raven and Adam McGurk suspended. The duo were sent off late on in midweek as Rovers lost their 100 per cent record and slipped to sixth in the table.
Parry said: “We are going into the Sheffield United game without David and Adam which is a big hit. Adam has done well so far this season and we are not over endowed with left-sided players.
“But we will pick the lads up because United is another massive game for us.”
Boasting a modest budget and a small squad, Rovers have made a habit of defying the odds and are in their 11th successive season in League One. To help make ends meet, Parry offloaded highly-rated youngsters Dale Jennings and Aaron Cresswell to Bayern Munich and Ipswich Town over the summer respectively.