Danny Burnell – @danny_burnell92
The gaffer is looking at a major re-build this summer, with positions aplenty up for grabs. The Gulls will do the majority of their shopping in the free agent market, with released players from Devon’s two other clubs always an option, as well as further afield in Bristol, the South Coast & South Wales.
I take a look at who’s available, and who could potentially be plying their trade at Plainmoor next season.
Argyle have been good to us in recent times. Randell shone the season before last, and Ryan Law provided some decent performances. Having missed out on the L1 play-offs next season, they announced their retained list a few weeks back.
Of all the senior members of the squad, just one player was not retained, Ollie Tomlinson. The Ivybridge-born Central Defender failed to make a breakthrough at Home Park, having managed just one start for the Pilgrims at the back end of the 20/21 campaign. He spent the latter part of the season on loan at Truro where he made a number of appearances in the Southern Premier. Steven Schumacher mentioned in the local press he has the ability to kick on and make a name for himself elsewhere, and with his close proximity to Plainmoor, and need for defenders, seeing Tomlinson in Yellow may not be out of the question.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he does make his way back into the league maybe, or a good standard in the National League, so good luck to him.” – Steven Schumacher
Of all the apprentices/youngster’s released, Rhys Shirley stands out as a player who may be on GJ’s radar. The striker managed a handful of first team appearances at Plymouth, scoring his first senior goal in the Carabao Cup against Swansea. He joined Argyle as a school-boy and spent time on loan at Plymouth Parkway before his release.
Following their promotion to League One, the Grecians have had a mini clear out as they prepare for some sterner tests.
Nigel Atangana looks a GJ signing if ever I saw one. The boss signed the Frenchman for Cheltenham back in 2017 where he became an integral part of the Robins’ squad. Having made 66 league appearances for Exeter over a 3 year spell, the 32 year old midfielder would come with all the required experience needed for NL level, and would represent a quality signing.
Colin Daniel heads up the other notable releasee’s, having spent the back end of the season on loan at Aldershot. The versatile left sided player is 34, but comes with a wealth of experience with Macclesfield, Blackpool, Burton and others on his CV. His arrival at the Shots seem to have coincided with an upturn in fortune, so a switch to TQ1 may be on the cards.
The under 24 released list was announced shortly after City’s disappointing Championship campaign.
Louis Britton stands out as player familiar to the Yellow Army, with his 5 loan appearances coming at the start of the 20/21 season. Further spells with Stockport & Woking were equally uneventful, but did find his scoring boots in Ireland for Waterford FC. The 21-year old could be looking for a local move, and GJ will certainly be aware of his availability.
Khari Allen, Barney Soady & Nathianel Williams were also released and the youngsters have little first team experience, with U18/23 football and loans to local sides making up their careers so far.
The Gas will join Exeter in L1 after a rather ridiculous final day win over Scunthorpe.
Heading up their released list is former Premier League midfielder, Glenn Whelan. The 38 year old would represent a coup for the Gulls, but this one seems a bit far fetched.
33 year old Junior Brown and 37 year old Leon Clarke would certainly bring the experience, if that is what Johnson is looking for. The latter has enjoyed a very good career, most notably at both Sheffield clubs and Coventry.
No surprise Cam Hargraves has joined his Dad at Yeovil. Cian Harries would represent a very realistic target for the Gulls. The defender has played regularly for Rovers over the past couple of seasons, but found himself out on loan in the Netherlands recently. He hadn’t been used since February and did have a very brief stint at GJ’s Cheltenham in 2016. On paper, the 25 year old fits the bill. Jon Nolan joined Rovers late in the season from Ipswich but managed just one appearance. The 30 year old comes with a decent CV.
Of the rest, striker Brett Pittman looks another option, having spent the second part of the 21/22 on loan at Eastleigh. Wide-man Lucas Tomlinson may be another familiar name to the Yellow Army, having made 2 very brief substitute appearances in COVID times. Last season he featured regularly for Mansell’s Gloucester, so a step up to the NL may not be totally out of the question. Ollie Hulbert, Ben Liddle, Pablo Martinez, Tom Mehew & Kieran Phillips are all youngsters having been around the Rovers youth teams or local loans.
AROUND THE NATIONAL LEAGUE
A few realistic targets that we could be aiming for.
Liam Hogan & Lois Maynard released from champions Stockport would represent solid NL signings, but their northern routes may hold firm, with the the former since signing for Oldham. After losing out to Grimsby, now manager-less Notts County wasted no time in wielding the axe. Wing back/winger Dion Kelly-Evans the pick of the bunch, and would be a shrewd signing as a replacement for the outgoing Ben Wynter. I have no idea whether he’s signed on again, but Yeovil striker Adi Yussuf appears to be out of contract. The 29 year old has plenty of NL experience and is well-liked in Somerset. Eastleigh have had a poor season, and their antics at Plainmoor were far from sportsmanlike, but they have got rid of some decent talent. Ben’s brother Alex Wynter has been there for a few years and a good word from the United legend may persuade him. Midfielder Harry Pritchard and wide-man Sam Smart strike me as very realistic targets as well, having played big parts in the Spitfires season. The former would be an excellent signing in my view.
Ed Upson strikes me as a player we should be looking to sign. Made his name at MK Dons, Yeovil & Rovers, but found himself at Stevenage last season before being released. Would be an excellent signing, and potential vice-captain material. Opi Edwards has seen his time at FGR come to end, but the former City loanee did little to impress in the last few months. Newport have released 34 year old forward Padraig Amond who in seasons gone by has scored for fun. The Irishman spent some time at Exeter last season, where he scored 3 times. Former Gull Alex Fisher is also available having seemingly become accustom to the South West air. Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Flinders is another name known to GJ and Downes, having signed him in 2017. The experienced stopper could be a decent replacement for the departed MacDonald.
It’s great to speculate!
COYY – Danny
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