Mike Jackson says his players are starting to 'jostle' for a place in his starting XI as Tranmere prepare to face Harrogate Town in the Carabao cup first round.

The League Cup fixture is not only Rovers' 2020/21 season curtain-raiser, but also Jackson's first competitive match in the Prenton Park Managerial hotseat, since succeeding Micky Mellon.

And the 46-year-old former Rovers defender says that he's noticed a change in intensity from his squad this week.

Speaking to the press via a Zoom conference call, he said: "When you get to this final week of preseason there's a different feel to the way you go about things. Its a new focus.

"It's been good this week. The players are jostling. It's like the Grand National with the horses moving around. Everyone's ready and looking forward to it."

Under normal circumstances Jackson could expect a warm reception to signal the start of his managerial tenure, but as the former Assistant Manager is well aware, these are not normal times.

Tranmere will play their opening cup and league fixtures with no supporters in the stadium - something that the players will need to adapt to.

"It's going to be very strange. Obviously we're used to playing in front of fans. Ask any player or manager - it's the biggest thing you do it for. It's that kick, that buzz.

"We're going to miss them, but we've got to be able to adapt and move forward. We just promise them that we will try to represent them in the right way and do everything that we can to win football matches," he added.

Tranmere so far have a squad of 28 to navigate their way through the new season, but Jackson stressed that he would still need to strengthen further and supporters could expect to see one or two more additions to create more competition for places.

One player unlikely to be seen back in Birkenhead this season is former Rovers goal hero James Norwood.

When pushed on whether there was any substance to online rumours that the Ipswich Town striker could return on loan this season, Jackson quipped: "I don't think that's going to happen. If he's available I'll go down there and drive him up myself.

"James Norwood was brilliant here, but he's trying to get himself going at Ipswich. Which is right."

The appointment of Jackson by Chairman Mark Palios is widely seen by supporters as a continuation of the blue print laid out be predecessor Mellon, who guided Tranmere to a double promotion, but the new Rovers gaffer insists that he will be going about business his own way.

He said: "I think I'm my own person. I have my own way of playing. I think with this style of philosophy thing, people can get too caught up in that.

"I think there's principles in the way that I want to play when you've got the ball and when you haven't. That won't change. They've been there from day one of preseason and I 've added some more in that I think will work with the players that we've got.

"What we haven't changed from when Mick was here is that mentality of wanting to win."

Tranmere Rovers v Harrogate Town in the Carabao Cup First Round kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, September 5 at Prenton Park.

Supporters can follow the match on the Globe's live blog right here from 2:30pm.