Mike Jackson praised the desire of James Vaughan, after the striker helped Tranmere to an important 2-0 victory over Southend United on Saturday afternoon.

The former Everton forward has been forced to miss three matches following an outbreak of coronavirus in the Prenton Park squad, but despite minimal training, he led the line for Rovers against the League Two’s bottom club and got his reward with a second half goal.

Tranmere are now preparing to face Crawley Town in West Sussex on Tuesday evening but Jackson knew how important it was for his team to pick up a home win following two defeats, even if the first half an hour of the match didn’t exactly go to plan, forcing him into a double substitution.

Wirral Globe: James Vaughan has scored four goals for Tranmere so far this season. Photo: Richard GarnettJames Vaughan has scored four goals for Tranmere so far this season. Photo: Richard Garnett

He said: “With the last couple of results and everything that’s been going on, I think the lads were a little bit edgy and you could see that at the start of the game.

“We started OK, but we weren’t getting enough attacking threat. I just had to make that change again. That’s my job to look from the side. I had to try and make the call and it’s worked today.

“I’ve spoken to the two lads that I’ve had to take off, it’s nothing to do with their performance, it was just something where we had to try and change the dynamic of the game.

“I’m delighted for the group. They needed that win with what’s going on at the moment. They’ll be all the better for that.

“It’s an important result for us and we’re made up with it.We know the performance can be better, but it’s a good starting point for us.”

Jackson selected a 4-5-1 formation to start with, but that plan was consigned to the dustbin after only 30 minutes, with Rovers having to stave of wave after wave of United attacks, forcing an important early save by Scott Davies.

Wirral Globe: With no supporters allowed in Prenton Park, fans have find an alternative method to get their faces in the stadiumWith no supporters allowed in Prenton Park, fans have find an alternative method to get their faces in the stadium

On came Calum MacDonald and Sam Smith, for Lee O’Connor and Otis Khan, as Jackson switched to a 3-5-2.

Rovers got an instant return from their reshuffle when straight from the restart they took the lead. Liam Feeney delivered a dead ball into the box where it was met by the towering head of Peter Clarke, giving Tranmere the lead against the run of play.

Jackson said: “(Liam) Feeney has got that quality. He had to play at wing back today. And Clarkey (Peter Clarke), that’s his sheer will from him. That’s why he’s played for so long. His sheer will and character to go and get on the end of it.

“It was something that we needed at that time in the game. It was a great ball and a great header.”

After the break Rovers looked more composed and started to grow in confidence, while their opponents started to fade.

They doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart when a speculative shot from Vaughan on the edge of the box was deflected past Mark Oxley into the net.

From there on it was plain sailing for Tranmere, who pushed hard for a third goal but will be just happy to have got the three points.

It was just reward for Vaughan, who showed the type of appetite and quality that has been missing from the Rovers team in their most recent outings.

Jackson said: “I had a chat with Vaughany yesterday. It was a big call because he has only just come back, but he said ‘just play me’. He said ‘I want to play’.

“It was a quick conversation. I thought he gave the lads a lift. I thought considering what’s happened to him, the way he fought, he was an unbelievable handful.

“We’ve got to try and build on that (victory) now. With the lads that we’ve got coming back and the minutes that we’ve got into them today.

“The lads will enjoy that win and it’s a good starting point for us to go into this week.”