Following the release of full-back Lathaniel Rowe-Turner and centre-half Ed Palmer yesterday, Torquay United manager Martin Ling has continued to reshape his playing squad with further transfer news today.
Forward Ryan Jarvis, who joined the Gulls on loan from Walsall in March, has been offered a permanent contract for next season after impressing Ling during his short stay in Devon. Jarvis netted a crucial winner against Port Vale, teed up Rene Howe for the only goal against Accrington, and hit the bar in the play-off semi-final loss to Cheltenham. His contribution almost helped Torquay to promotion from League Two, and Ling said “We could have a really good player and he has been offered a one-year contract to prove to me that there is a good player in there”.
Also being offered new deals are midfield linchpin Damon Lathrope and young striker Ashley Yeoman. Lathrope’s expected signature will come as welcome news to United fans, with some fearing the ex-Norwich holding midfielder would be tempted away by a bigger club.
Yeoman’s only league appearance in 2011-12 came in the form of a brief, but impressive, cameo in a home defeat to Bradford in February. The local lad has been rewarded with a one-year extension for, according to Ling: “versatility and for being a goalscorer… we watch him in training and feel he will score goals.”
Seemingly held in lower regard is 22-year-old winger Lloyd Macklin, who featured four times in the league this season. The former Swindon midfielder bagged his first goal in professional football in a 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy loss to Cheltenham in August, before Macklin joined Salisbury on loan in a spell that also saw him score against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. However, Ling rather bluntly stated “He was one of the youngest-ever players to make his debut for Swindon when he was a 16-year-old, and I still feel we have a 16-year-old on our hands. He hasn’t been consistent enough…it’s something he hasn’t really grasped and I’m not prepared to try anymore, and that’s why he’s been listed”.
Although he chose to renew Yeoman’s contract despite the forward only having two league appearances for United at the age of 20, Ling also cited this as a reason for Macklin – who has actually featured more for the Gulls – being transfer-listed: “To be a sub that only touches the pitch a couple of times is not enough for someone at the age of 22”.
Ling’s blunt approach to releasing players could be seen as unnecessarily harsh, but many Torquay fans seem to prefer the Plainmoor supremo’s modus operandi: one fan went as far as saying “He’s put a backbone where there wasn’t one before. Martin Ling tells it like it is… just straight to the point, no-nonsense honesty.”
Torquay have also offered central defender Mark Ellis a new deal, which is said to have been on the table for months. The 23-year-old has reportedly attracted interest from United’s south-west rivals Plymouth Argyle, the club his family support. The Gulls are waiting for Kenyan forward Taiwo Atieno to return from international duty before deciding whether or not to extend his contract.