Gulls go to one of their own for loan signing Stephen Duke-McKenna

Torbay Weekly

They say it's not what you know but who you know - and Torquay United have gone back to one of their own for loan signings which could turn out boosting their hopes of making the National League play-offs this season.

Paul Hall began his career with the Gulls' old Youth Training Scheme back in 1987, was bought by Portsmouth for £90,000 six years later and went on to a 700-game, 150-goal career with Pompey, Coventry City, Walsall twice, Rushden and Diamonds, Tranmere Rovers and Chesterfield.

Now 49, he is not only head coach of the Jamaica team currently trying to reach the Qatar World Cup finals but he's also the lead under-23 coach at Queen's Park Rangers.

Manchester-born Hall has never forgotten the role that Torquay played in launching his career, along with Darren Moore, Duane Darby, Chris Curran, Scott Stamps, Scott Colcombe and others from that era.

Two years ago he was instrumental in sending QPR starlet Amrit Bansal-McNulty to Plainmoor on loan.

This season he helped in a similar deal for highly-rated 18-year-old striker Sinclair Armstrong, who recently returned to Loftus Road amid rumours that Manchester City and Celtic are among the big clubs watching him.

And now the Gulls have 'borrowed' Guyanan international midfielder Stephen Duke-McKenna, 21, from the Hoops until the end of the season.

Hall, who played for Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup finals in France, is currently preparing the country for vital CONCACAF qualifying group games against Mexico (H) tomorrow, Panama (A) on Sunday and Costa Rica (H) next Thursday.

But he broke off to tell the Torbay Weekly: "Stephen is good, a really energetic boy with a goal in him, and I think the Plainmoor faithful will like him."

With Hall's help, QPR are producing a stream of top-quality youngsters - Eberechi Eze cost Premier League Crystal Palace £17 million 18 months ago - and if Duke-McKenna can make a big impact at Plainmoor, nobody will be happier than the man who first broke through here as a skinny but tricky winger all those years ago.