Player of Year aiming for Gulls' promotion in trip back to old club

Joseph Bulmer

Torquay United's new Player Of The Year Connor Lemonheigh-Evans is relishing a trip to his old club Bristol City for Sunday's National League play-off final against Hartlepool United - but he insists: "I'd play in my back garden as long as we get promotion!"

The chance to take the Gulls back into the Football League after seven years is a dream occasion for ten-goal Lemonheigh-Evans - winner of the Torbay Weekly-sponsored PoY award - who began his career at Bristol City alongside teammate Jake Andrews.

More than 3,000 Gulls fans will follow manager, and former Robins boss Gary Johnson, up the M5 for the winner-takes-all showdown that kicks off at 2pm.

Llanelli-born Lemonheigh-Evans, 24, who moved to Plainmoor last August after three previous loan spells, said: "I first joined City when I was 15, so I think I'll know my way round the place.

"This is my fourth season here, I wanted to get my goals and assists figures up this year and I'm pleased with how it's gone.

"Winning Player Of The Year is a proud moment for me, but what we all want is promotion.

"It's been such a difficult season, but the whole squad has stuck together - everyone has done their bit and we just want to finish it off now."

NL runners-up United, unbeaten in 14 games, reached the final with last Saturday's thrilling 4-2 extra-time win over Notts County, care of goals by fit-again centre-forward Danny Wright, (2), skipper Asa Hall and a Dean Moxey penalty.

But manager Johnson stresses: "That's gone. Sunday is all that counts, and producing another big performance."

Hartlepool upset big-spending favourites Stockport County away (1-0) in the other 'semi'.

Their side includes in-form strikers Rhys Oates and Luke Armstrong - Oates' winner at Stockport was his 13th goal in 16 games and Armstrong has hit another 14 on loan from Salford City.

The 'score' this season is 1-1 - a Wright hat-trick led the Gulls to a 5-0 rout at Victoria Park last October, but Luke Molyneux's early goal earned Pools a 1-0 win at Plainmoor in March.

The bookies have the Gulls as favourites - they are best-priced at 6/4 and Hartlepool 15/8.