Chris Perry gives his own TT transfer gossip round-up this week, speculating on which players could be heading to TUFC:
Chris Perry – @TW8_Gulls
1 – Manny Onariase – Rotherham United
Manny’s a 22 year old centre half who can count West Ham United, Brentford & Rotherham United amongst his previous clubs. But it wasn’t until a loan spell at Cheltenham Town, managed by Gary Johnson, that he was able to get a taste of first team football. Following his loan spell, Gary & Peter Johnson were both praised ’’for having so much faith in me & and giving me the opportunity to play consistently every week.’’Prior to his signing, Cheltenham were struggling, but his arrival saw an upturn in results & helped the club avoid an immediate relegation back to the National League.
His form impressed Rotherham United enough to purchase him from Brentford. Without first team opportunity (Rotherham went on to win promotion from League 1 that season) next up was a second spell with Gary Johnson at Cheltenham. ‘’the gaffer has shown his faith in me to bring me back. Now I want to re-pay that.’’
This season – a loan spell with Dagenham & Redbridge saw Manny gain further first team experience, Impressing at the centre of defence.
Availability – Rotherham United have announced that Manny won’t be offered a new contract & he will leave the club on expiration of that contract.
2 – Joey Jones – Eastleigh FC
Joey Jones of Eastleigh FC offers versatility, he’s shown that he can perform in the centre of midfield & the centre of defence. Performing well for Eastleigh as they reached the play-offs, manager Ben Strevens recently commented; “Joey is a reflection of the group this season, he’s improving all the time and proving to be the player we all thought he would be.’’ He’s 25 & out of contract soon (meaning any transfer wouldn’t command a fee).
Prior to joining Eastleigh last summer, Jones was a key player for Woking making over 160 appearances over a 4 year spell (Alongside Joe McNerney, he was always excellent against United).
Jones actually started his career with Yeovil Town in the 2012/2013 season, managed by Gary Johnson.
Availability – Contract due to expire & has been offered a new deal to remain with Eastleigh – yet to sign it.
3 – Marvel Ekpiteta – Hungerford Town
Captain Marvel. Ekpiteta & his Hungerford team mates faced an already promoted Torquay United side at the end of the last season. It was hard not to be impressed by this guy. He was quick, strong, brave & a vocal figure on the pitch – he looked like a player destined for bigger things.
Described by his manager as someone who will play in the EFL. This is reflected by his selection in the National League South team of the year for the season gone, also winning the manager & players’ player of the year.
His brother is England C International Marvin Ekpiteta, who was a mainstay of the Leyton Orient defence that just won promotion. Marvel will take encouragement in seeing his brother work his way back into the EFL this summer with Leyton Orient. Both Ekpiteta brothers started at Oxford United before joining several clubs in the 6th tier of English football. Marvin Ekpiteta earned a move and grabbed his chance. Why can’t TUFC be the club to offer that chance for Marvel?
4 – Manny Parry – Boreham Wood
Standing at 6ft 4in, centre half Parry began his career with Millwall and Stoke City, before departing for then National League South side Maidstone United, whom he helped to promotion. I first saw Manny for Braintree as they were relegated from the National League in the 2016/2017 season. Despite the team’s relegation it didn’t put off potential suitors & his form secured a switch to Dover Athletic, ensuring that he remained in the National League. After 1 successful season at Dover, in which he made 46 appearances (Dover only conceding 44 goals as a team) they narrowly missed out on the play-offs on goal difference.
Boreham Wood had just been defeated by Tranmere Rovers in the play-off final – they managed to sign Parry from their league rivals for the 2018/2019 season. Manager Luke Garrard describing his new signing as ‘’powerful, athletic, very, very strong and scores goals from defence”.
After a single season it was announced that he will leave Boreham Wood when his contract expires this summer.
Availability – Contract due to expire & will leave Boreham Wood.
5 – Joe Edwards – Walsall
Joe Edwards is capable of playing in midfield or full back. His versatility is familiar to Gary Johnson – with Edwards forming a part of his Yeovil team that almost unexpectedly won promotion to the Championship in May 2013. Walsall have announced that Edwards will leave Darrell Clarke’s men this summer. His last season saw Walsall relegated and Edwards’ game time reduced. But his past experience with Walsall, Colchester & Yeovil mean he can be considered as an established League 1 footballer, so perhaps not someone looking at a move to the National League at this stage in his career. Being a Gloucester man, the opportunity to move nearer to home & to once more play for Gary Johnson is an appealing challenge.
Availability – Out of contract. Worked with Gary Johnson before and Torquay’s closer to home than Walsall was.
At sixes and sevens (and eights.)
Paul Rooney & Aaron Barnes – Colchester United. Both previously spent loan periods with TUFC. Neither player will be having their contracts renewed at Colchester United. Both players & the club could do a lot worse.
Availability – Both are available & have experienced the club at it’s worst. Barnes offers versatility as a defensive midfielder or a right back. Rooney would be good competition for Jean-Yves Koue-Niate & could develop into a decent defender.
Jerome Binnom-Williams of Chesterfield will be a free agent when his contract expires. He’s won international recognition with England at youth level & last season with the England C team. He’s moved clubs regularly, without really settling; playing in league 1, 2 & the national league. Jerome’s got ability and could be a good signing for someone, if he can nail down a position for a prolonged period. His versatility makes him an interesting option, he can play at left back, left of midfield or centre half. He wouldn’t be guaranteed to get that game time, with Liam Davis/Ryan Dickson both good professionals for TUFC.