After a promising pre season that included wins against local rivals Bristol City and Plymouth Argyle fans of Torquay United would have been relishing the start of the League Two campaign. The Gulls came off the back end of last season on a nine game unbeaten run and in their last seven games didn’t concede a single goal.
With a summer of little transfer activity on the English Riviera, highly rated manager Paul Buckle has managed to keep hold of the main core of the squad. Experienced Pro’s such as Left Back Kevin Nicholson and Central Midfielder Nicky Wroe have been given new contracts whilst defender Chris Robertson will become the Longest serving player within the Gull’s squad.
There have been few departures at the club and the squad has only been strengthened in area’s where it was needed the most. The introduction of commanding centre back Guy Branston who signed from Burton Albion, after spending the second half of last season on loan at Plainmoor, is considered by many on the south coast as being an inspired piece of business, his experience will be invaluable whilst also helping youngsters Mark Ellis and new signing Lathanial Rowe-Turner settle into the back four.
Along with improvements in defence fans Favourite Martin Gritton has come in on loan from Chesterfield for six months to play alongside Hot prospect Elliot Benyon and another of Buckle’s young recruits Billy Kee.
Combine these signings with players who already have vast amounts of experience at this level such as Goalkeeper Scott Bevan, nomadic midfielder Lee Mansell and young competitive wingers Chris Zebroski and Danny Stevens you have a squad that is capable of challenging for honours in the coming season.
For a team finishing in 17th place in League Two last season you could be forgiven for thinking that another relegation battle may lie ahead from the Devonshire club, however three wins in three games at the start of the new season, combined with a narrow 1-0 extra time loss, yet promising performance in the Carling Cup against Championship side Reading would give many fans hope that the club would be challenging for promotion come the end of the current season.
Although the season has only just begun and it is far too early to start making predictions Gulls fans can expect fast, free flowing football from a team who are now starting to gel with each other. Manager Paul Buckle has done well to put together a squad who’s key attributes focus on teamwork and playing aesthetically pleasing football.
Mark my words, so long as The Gulls can stay relatively injury free and are able to make smart loan signings where possible the season ahead looks bright for a side who could soon find themselves pitting their wits against some of the larger, ex Premier League sides currently playing their trade in the lower leagues.