Tranmere striker James Vaughan is back in training as Rovers look to put Tuesday night's bitterly disappointing result behind them and prepare to face Southend United on Saturday.

The former Everton forward is one of a number of players who became unavailable for selection following an outbreak of coronavirus in the Prenton Park squad a fortnight ago.

It is not clear whether the 32-year-old was infected or just forced to self-isolate, but supporters will be desperate to see him back on the pitch after Tranmere followed up a morale-boosting 2-2 draw against Salford with disappointing defeats away to Newport County and then at home to Leyton Orient this week.

Speaking in his weekly pre-match press conference via video call, manager Mike Jackson said: "We've had a really good day in training today. We've had some meetings with the players that have been really positive.

"We've managed to get players back in the squad. We're only two or three light now. That's the first time we've been able to do that for a very long time. That's given a boost to everybody.

"It's just about getting these players up to speed now. Working hard on the training pitch, making sure we work on the fundamentals of what we do.

"In last couple of weeks we've not had the numbers to be able to do a full training session, as in 11v11. We had 10 players and one goalkeeper.

"James Vaughan is back in the building now, that was his first training session today."

Just like Southend, Tranmere have only scored four league goals in seven matches so far this season - only Scunthorpe United have scored less - but Jackson believes that goals will come once he has all of his attacking players back on the pitch together and up to full fitness.

One centre forward who won't be troubling goalkeepers any time soon is Stefan Payne, who has had a groin operation that will rule him out for three months.

Towering defender Manny Monthe has had an injection in his knee that will rule him out of contention this weekend, while Morgan Ferrier continues to recover from a hamstring injury.

Southend on Saturday will likely come too soon for winger Corey Blackett-Taylor, who's own hamstring injury has healed but as revealed by the Globe on Tuesday evening, the midfielder is currently having to wear a monitor for a slight heart issue, which was described by Jackson as 'nothing to worry about'.

Rovers will be without the suspended Paul Lewis for another two matches, but Jack Young has recovered from tonsillitis and was able to train today.

After an indifferent start to the season. a positive result against rock-bottom Southend will be the minimum requirement for the Super White Army and Jackson is under no illusions that he team must deliver, regardless of the challenges they have encountered in recent weeks.

He said: "No one likes losing games. The guys will get a boost from the squad coming back together. I know the fans are disappointed. They've been great to us all of the time.

"I know what they expect. I know what this club has had in the past and I'm sure they will stick with us, knowing what we've gone through.

"But obviously now, they want to win games and I know that. We're doing our very best now to make sure this group gets up to speed and gets going again.

"The performances in the last couple of games haven't been to the standard that we set ourselves in previous games.

"We know the issues behind that but we don't want to make excuses.

"We're passionate about these fans and we want to do well for them. We always will."