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Jay's Friday Briefing

Matt Davison speaks with Jay prior to tomorrow's visit of Torquay United

In a busy 24 hours of player movement, attention now turns back to the game as we prepare for only the second ever visit to Longmead of former league side Torquay United.

The squad has been boosted by the first two players to commit for next season as Scott Wagstaff and Sean Shields agreed terms for 2024/25.

Jay Saunders said: "So glad to get it done. When it came to talking to players, Scott was one of the first on the list. He's 33 but fit as a fiddle. When we look at the fitness and running stats it's him and Mo right up there and I'm so pleased with what he brings to the club on and off the pitch.

"Shieldsy has made a big difference to us. That good run we had, it coincided with when he signed. Every game he gives you moments of quality and the assists and goals have been a big part of us climbing the league when we were struggling.

"I know there's been interest in him and Waggy but keeping these sort of players shows our direction and will help attract other players."

We have also confirmed the loan signing of Gillingham's Matty Macarthur.

"I know people say we've got nothing to play for but we want to finish as high as we can, so when there was an opportunity to bring Matty in I had to take it. He's someone I've seen quite a bit of, both at Gillingham, then on loan at Margate and Dartford. He adds something different, out wide and central. That's an area where we need creativity. We're allowing Francis Mampolo to go out and get games. Liam Vincent's got another game before his second month runs out on Saturday and then we'll have to have a look at that one."

Onto the game, and this week saw the inevitable confirmation of Torquay United's 10 point deduction under insolvency rules, which drops them from 12th to 17th, just three points above the relegation zone and Jay feels this could affect the game.

He said: "We've spoken to the lads about this. I've been in and around clubs in financial problems and it goes one way or the other. Sometimes it galvanises the group. Sometimes they go the opposite way. Knowing Aaron, their caretaker manager, and their players, I think it will galvanise them. We've worked hard in training. We have to make sure we've prepared right and given ourselves the best opportunity."

"There are fitness tests for Kodi Lyons-Foster, Lewis Gard and Ryan Hanson. Unfortunately Ben Swift's had another scan and he's had a slight setback which has pushed him back, so we don't know when he comes back."

Published Friday 15th March 2024