MICKY Mellon has delivered a stark reality check ahead of the new Football League season, after watching his Tranmere side fight back twice from three goals down to local giants Liverpool.

New loan signing Johnny Smith and trialist Amadou Soukouna both found the back of net in the second half in a 3-2 defeat to the Anfield club but challenges in the transfer market was the real talking point from a Rovers perspective.

Speaking to the Globe after the match, Mellon said: "It's always a difficult game for us because they have so much quality right through the group and it’s very difficult to play against.

"But this year, certainly in the second half, we got in amongst them and kept our shape.

"We knew we would concede but would then have to be good, dogged and determined.

"To the players' credit they've done that and got themselves a 2-3 result against an outstanding football team.

"There’s loads of positives for us to improve on."

The Prenton Park boss has brought the likes of Ollie Banks and Manny Monthe back to Birkenhead as well as bringing in Mark Ellis, Jake Caprice and Smith on loan from Bristol City.

But the Scot accepts that the squad is still well short of where it needs to be for the start of the season and he doesn't have a magic wand to immediately fix the situation.

He said: "We had a lot of trialists out there.

"We are short of bodies – there’s no doubt about that.

"I've got to be honest and say at this moment in time as a football club we maybe don’t have the ability finances-wise to do much at the minute.

"We have to be patient and wait for that opportunity to come.

"We know we need more players but it's the Football League now.

"We haven't struck oil here.

"We have to be very careful with our finances and at the minute I'm a wee bit hands tied in order to try and bring players in, but I'm assured that's going to change in the next couple of weeks because we're well short of bodies.

"We need to get the numbers up so that when the transfer window shuts we can survive until Christmas.

"They'll be no big marquee signings.

"We don’t as a football club have the ability to do that. I'm hearing all the names being bandied around, but I have to be clear and keep expectations in the right place.

"We've got good players but Tranmere can't compete even at this level with others.

"It's going to take some time to mix with some of the big players in this division, with the transfer fees.

"A lot of it comes down to finances. You won't get a good player coming here just because it's a nice ground with a good fan base."

Mellon wouldn't be drawn when asked about recent speculation regarding AFC Fylde striker Danny Rowe.

He added: "I'm not going to talk about anyone else's players. That's not fair because I wouldn't like it to happen to us.

"All I say is that there's a lot of good players out there but good players cost a lot of money. "Tranmere doesn't have the ability to do that. We'll have to be clever and try and juggle things around and maybe call in a few favours.

"It's going to take a period of recovery for the football club to get back to the levels that everyone wants to get to.

"We must be realistic."