Tuffley Rovers have completed the registration of five new faces to line up at Glevum Park during their 2018/19 Hellenic League campaign.
Young hopefuls Brad Loveridge & Dom Kent sign on after impressive 2017/18 campaigns for the double winning Gloucester City U18s side. Both Kent and Loveridge have played crucial parts in pre-season for Tuffley after making the step up from the young Tigers.
They are joined by Essa Sabally & Ryan Dobbins who both impressed during a tough pre-season campaign that ended with back to back wins over Undy AFC & Oldland Abbotonians in front of their new home support at Glevum Park. Sabally makes the step up from Tuffley’s U18 set up whilst Dobbins has rejoined the club after a year away at County League side Gala Wilton.
The fifth signing is that of former Forest Green youth goalkeeper Luke Merchant who signs on a dual registration from Southern League side Cirencester Town. Merchant comes in to provide competition for the vacant number 1 jersey after captain Dave Evans stepped away from the club at the end of last season. This gives Tuffley two great goalkeeping options in both Merchant and last season’s reserve team keeper Kane Winman.
In addition manager Mark Pritchett has managed to persuade the talented Paul Carter to make the move from County League football with Hardwicke to play in midfield as well as Jake Rhodes up top to ensure the void left by the now retired Shayne Bradley is filled.
Although he’s struggled with injury, former Bishops Cleeve Development player Rhodes has shown flashes of good form during pre-season and will be battling it out with former Gloucester City youth player Ash Bird who finished pre-season strong with three goals in the last two games.
In a statement issued by the club Pritchett acknowledges that he alongside new assistant manager Alex O’Leary set about rebuilding the squad over the summer and they are now in a strong position ahead of the new season.
“We’ve lost a lot of experience with Bradders and Dave retiring, then Shayne moving on, which has meant Alex and I have a bit of a rebuilding job on our hands. Despite that, we have a lot of young players, with huge potential, and we’re excited to see what they can do at this level.”
“After a tricky pre-season, when injuries and player availability really affected us, I’m really looking forward to the start of the season. We might have benefited from having a little bit more experience in the squad, but I’m happy with what we’ve got.”
“Losing Dave Evans was a big blow, as he was not just a great keeper but a real leader, too. I’m really pleased we’ve managed to bring in Luke Merchant, who has signed on dual registration forms from Cirencester Town, but Kane Winman has shown in pre-season that he is capable of competing for a place in the team and having two options is important in any position, but particularly in goal.”
“This squad has real potential and we’re genuinely excited to see what we can do. I can’t wait to get started.”
Tuffley Rovers begin their 2018/19 Hellenic League Premier campaign away at Royal Wootton Bassett Town, who have confirmed this evening the signing of forward TJ Bohane. Kick off is at 3pm