Luke Hunter – @lukehunter8
LUKE’S LOOK IN
Right then, here we go again – our eighth consecutive season in the non-league and the seventh in which Torquay United fans look longingly at the football league shaped attic door above. Pressure has landed a little differently on GJ and AD this season, it has been a mammoth gap since we last ‘had something to play for’ and I think with that is an expectation that we should be absolutely raring to go on Saturday. Of course, football rarely works like that and the yellow army might need to show a little bit of patience, but I’m certainly expecting a comfortable shape and familiarity amongst the team from Saturday and hopefully some confidence boosting wins to build momentum early doors.
In a bid to frame my preseason thoughts slightly more objectively, I would probably describe another team who had made our signings as ‘one to watch’ – we seem to have a nice blend of personalities, (relevant) experience, physicality and a degree of continuity – some of which are consistent ingredients in National League promotion challengers. In any case, we simply must be at least a few weeks further down the preparation line than this point last season and that alone has pricked my ears.
As always, the social and football aspects are mostly counterbalanced for me – I’m just as giddy for the structure that football gives my weeks; it has felt like a long summer and I’m longing for Robert Miles, the views across to Dartmoor and whatever classic TUFC moments 22/23 throws forward.
As always, ahead of 22/23 the TT Contributors shared their thoughts – thoughts that I’m sure will be proven to be absolutely faultless come the end of the season; Dan Holman top scorer anyone?
With thanks to our ever reliable panel:
- Andy Charles (AC)
- Ben Currie (BC)
- Chris Wade (CW)
- Danny Burnell (DB)
- Dom Roman (DR)
- Ian East (IE)
- Joe Uglow (JU)
- Luke Hunter (LH)
- Matty Hayward (MH)
- Rachel Malloch (RM)
- Rich Heesem (RH)
- Rowena Davis-Williams (RDW)
- Sam Swann (SS)
- Thomas Kelly (TK)
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Q: WHO IS YOUR TIP FOR TUFC PLAYER OF THE SEASON AND WHY?
MH: “Brett McGavin. Looked different gravy in pre-season. Expect him to score the bulk of our goals too.”
SS: “Brett McGavin – He looks like a talented all rounded player. He is a box to box midfielder who has a great ability to pick the right ball. He will score a fair few goals from midfield this season.”
RWB: “Ryan Hanson – Dover spoke very highly of him, think he will be really strong in midfield.”
JU: “Brett Mcgavin, has impressed in pre-season and looks the most likely out of the new recruits to get on the ball and make things happen.”
IE: “Moxey. Self explanatory really never let’s us down still our best defender at 37.”
How they voted:
Q: WHO IS YOUR TIP FOR TUFC *YOUNG* (21 AND UNDER) POTS AND WHY?
DR: “Goodwin – looks a busy player and could have a big impact.”
TK: “Kieron Evans. Having played a bit in the first team at Cardiff, I’m hopeful he’ll show his quality for us.”
BC: “Dylan Crowe. Played at England youth levels and career has stalled somewhat, backing Gary to unlock his potential.”
RH: “Dylan Crowe, young right back who has a tough job replacing Wynter but I’m sure he has the motivation to do well.”
DB: “Crowe – The new Wynter”
How they voted:
Q: WHO IS YOUR TIP FOR TUFC’S TOP GOAL-SCORER AND WHY?
SS: “Corie Andrews – A strong and powerful player who starred in his spell for Aldershot last season. He has been recovering from an injury during pre-season so he might not be firing straight the way. He works hard and looks a handful.”
RM: “Will Goodwin. A lively striker who could benefit from the aerial strength of Aaron Jarvis.”
TK: “Aaron Jarvis. Hopefully this season he can find his feet after being in a toxic environment last season. I’m sure he’ll improve on the two goals he scored last season!”
AC: “Will Goodwin. Certainty if he stays all season. Think he and Aaron Jarvis will work well together”
BC: “Kieron Evans. Seems to have the highest calibre of all our recruits, think he might end up playing off a front man a’la Lemon.”
How they voted:
Q: MOST ANTICIPATED FIXTURE AND WHY?
JU: “Always enjoy the Yeovil double header at Christmas and with their back room staff made up entirely of ex TUFC staff as well as a couple ex players in the squad it adds a little more spice to the game!”
AC: “Notts County (H). Just want to put another 5 past them and their cocksure and presumptuous fans”
TK: “York away for me. New ground to tick off the list and always a lovely city to visit for an awayday. Wrexham on the final day could be very tasty if we have a good season.”
BC: “Notts County. Judging by twitter, the needle between the 2 sides has not dissipated. Always funny to get one over those clowns”
MH: “Wrexham at home last day of the season has huge potential. Also ruining parties at Oldham and Wrexham and Chesterfield will be joyous.”
RH: “Oldham (h) new season vibes. After that Yeovil at home”
DB: “Oldham home – the season KO”
Yeovil (away) 21/22 – a repeat of that would be nice!
Q: WHO WILL WIN THE LEAGUE AND WHY?
JU: “Wrexham, the money they have at their disposal is obscene, and they have added 4 or 4 quality additions to what is a fairly settled squad already jam packed full of talent. Anthony Forde and Jacob Mendy joining in the last week are two very good signings.”
RH: “Wrexham because Deadpool will throw a million pounds at them at Christmas when they are mid-table. In all seriousness I think they will be too good for everyone this season. Money talks after all.”
CW: “Solihull Moors- haven’t lost many players and are always up there.”
TK: “Hate to say it but think it’ll be Notts County. I like how they’ve recruited and I’ll think they’ll mount a challenge with Wrexham for top spot.”
How they voted:
Q: ANY POTENTIAL NATIONAL LEAGUE DARK HORSES?
DR: “Daggers could be dangerous again, maybe Southend will have a good season.”
IE: “I think York and Dorking will do better than the two teams who won their respective leagues. I can’t see any real dark horses threatening the top sides this year, Dagenham for a team that didn’t make the playoffs last year that have a good chance this year.”
AC: “Dorking will surprise a few but suspect it will be the same names in and around the playoffs”
RDW: “Watch out for York! Wind between their sails.”
MH: “York will be in the playoff mix”
Q: ARE THERE ANY OTHER NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYERS YOU’RE EXCITED TO SEE THIS SEASON?
MH: “Manny Duku and Scott Boden stand out.”
CW: “It’ll be interesting to see if the rich teams can actually produce this season.”
BC: “Ben Wynter. Ben Wynter Day enthusiast forever. PS Ben Wynter.”
SS: “I will be interested to see how Cov does at Chesterfield.”
AC: “Much as I hate to say it, because he is someone I dislike immensely, Notts County’s Ruben Rodrigues simply should not be in this league.”
RH: “Tshimanga having a full season.”
Q: LASTLY, WHAT WILL TUFC’S FINAL LEAGUE POSITION BE?