Joe Uglow – @Joe_Ugs
As the Government lifts lockdown restrictions across the country, rumours of an August return to training for National League clubs have circulated. With much of last season’s squad signed on already, GJ has probably had a more relaxed lockdown than many of his counterparts. The gaps left by Jamie Reid & Kalvin Kalala’s departures will not be easily filled and the 3 or 4 required additions to the squad could prove the difference between fighting it out at the top or settling for another season of mid-table mediocrity.
I’ll take a look at who could be arriving at Plainmoor next month, when hopefully football returns!
Much of the close season transfer rumour mill has centred around Gary Warren, after his successful month loan at Plainmoor last season. However despite what he did for us last season, I’m not sure he has the legs for a full season of National League football.
Instead, GJ could well be looking at the man who kept him out of the Exeter side last season – Aaron Martin. With over 160 league appearances under his belt including 35 last season at Exeter, Aaron can count himself unlucky to have been released last month.
Aged 30, he’s been there and done it and probably could do without relocating at this stage of his career. Could he be the perfect experienced partner for Kyle Cameron?
The former Exeter defender finds himself on the market this summer, after Newport brought his 4 years at the club to an end. With over 250 appearances under his belt and still only 29, the Newquay-born defender could be looking at a return to the Westcountry to fix GJ’s leaky defence.
With a striker and winger on the shopping list, GJ may well be looking for some versatility in those positions as he endeavours to make the most out of a smaller squad. Waters, who can play as a striker or a winger, previously played under Johnson for 2 seasons and was instrumental in Cheltenham’s promotion from the National League at the first time of asking. Waters swept up the club awards in his second season winning Player of the Season, Player’s Player & Young Player of the Season before rejecting a contract and moving to Northampton Town for an undisclosed fee. Now a free agent, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see GJ & Downsey try and tempt their former player down to Plainmoor.
Rumoured to be a Torquay target when at Weston-super-Mare, Dayle Grubb eventually moved onto Forest Green and managed 56 appearances over 3 seasons. Having found himself out of favour last season, he ended the season on loan at Eastleigh and subsequently was released last month. Grubb can play ‘in the hole’ as second striker or further back in central midfield and being Westcountry based, he could be another affordable option to bolster the squad.
Although far from prolific, Matt has a number of promotions on his CV and it could be that type of mentality that GJ will be looking to attract this summer. Released by Newport having averaged a goal every 4 games, he’s not necessarily the 20 goal a season striker every fan would love to see walk through the door, but at 6′ 1” Matt could provide the perfect target man option.
The tricky winger was instrumental last December as Chesterfield came to Plainmoor and went back up the M5 with all 3 points. Gevaro bagged two assists and was a constant thorn in our right hand side. As one of the better individual opposition performances from last season and now a free agent after release by Oldham, GJ may well have seen enough to extend an offer to the Curacao international.
Another ex-Grecian linked with the Gulls this summer. 33 year-old midfield man Holmes will be looking to put an injury troubled 19-20 behind him, having only made one appearance all season. A bit of a risk this one but if he can find the form that won him Exeter’s Player of the Year award in 2016 then it could be a master-stroke by GJ.