Luke Merchant has confirmed that he will be committing to Tuffley Rovers for the 2019/20 season and is eyeing up a top 10 finish and a cup run ahead of the new campaign.
Merchant, who ended last season with 27 appearances in goal for Rovers, is one of the first players to confirm their intention to stay at the club going into the new campaign and he spoke to Severn Sport about last season at Glevum Park – including surviving relegation.
“At the end of the season I was pleased that we had survived relegation. Half way through the season it wasn’t looking good but the chemistry and togetherness in the squad was brilliant.
I’m glad that I got a full season in the Hellenic Premier under my belt, after coming back from Texas. It was exactly what I needed, coming back into competitive football week in week out.” Merchant said.
After his performances last season, Merchant found himself nominated for the Breakthrough Player of the Year at the Severn Sport End of Season Awards and will be looking to build on a solid season between the sticks for Rovers.
Merchant joined Tuffley on a dual registration deal from Cirencester Town and despite putting in a few decent displays for the Centurions as well, the stopper is solely focused on the Hellenic Premier side for the new season.
“I am staying at Tuffley and can’t wait to get started to be honest. It’s a great club with great people, especially the people who work hard behind the scenes who make the club tick.
The dressing room itself is tight with people who want to work hard and do well. I haven’t spoken to Charlie or Cirencester, however I wish them nothing but the best for up the upcoming season to try and push for that promotion which they deserve.” Merchant added.
“I wanted to stay at Tuffley because I want to gain a little more experience in the Hellenic League. I feel that my performances for Cirencester last season proves that I do have the ability to play in the Southern League and is definitely something I have my eye on for the future. My aim is to play as high as I can.”
Tuffley returned to pre-season training this week and whilst registration forms aren’t open for confirmation until July 1st, Severn Sport understands that there will be a few new faces at Glevum Park this season – with some heading out.
As reported last week, midfielder Kieran Alder has left the club and joined Southern League side Cinderford Town, whilst Joel White is due to confirm his move to Slimbridge once the forms are released next month.
Coming in to Mark Pritchett’s side is Jack Beardsell, who is due to join the club from local rivals Fairford Town – whilst Severn Sport understands that Macaulay Herbert is one of many due to remain at the club and will once again be in the mix as Pritchett looks to name a captain for the forthcoming season.
Merchant is hoping that his teammates will be able to come together quickly and get off to a fast start and believes a top 10 finish isn’t beyond Pritchett’s men.
“The aim for next season is to get off to a fast start and to be able to compete with every team in the league. Even though we have lost a few key players I feel like a top 10 finish is definitely achievable and something we will be working hard for.
Also, obviously everyone loves a cup run so fingers crossed we can step up this year to see if we can win some silverware.” Merchant said.