Gary Johnson: 'Free agent' Dan could be one of my best-ever bargain signings

Dan Holman of Torquay United during the pre season match between Torquay United and Chippenham Town

Torquay United striker Dan Holman. - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

While Torquay United's rivals splash unprecedented cash on trying to win promotion to the Football League, manager Gary Johnson says that 'free agent' striker Dan Holman can become one of his best-ever bargain signings.

Ahead of the Gulls' National League opener at home to Altrincham on Saturday there are reports of head-shaking wages and fees, outstripping those in the EFL League Two, spent by clubs like Stockport County, Notts County and Wrexham.

But even deals for Scott Quigley (Stockport) and Paul Mullin (Wrexham) have been shaded by Chesterfield, who are believed to have paid Boreham Wood well in excess of £200,000 for striker Kabby Tshimanga.

Johnson, who has led United from 14th in the NL South to last season's NL Premier play-off final, remains undaunted.

"Those clubs have all done it because there's a salary cap coming in next year, so the ones that can are giving it a go this year," said Johnson, who has brought ex-Colchester, Cheltenham and Aldershot striker Dan Holman, 31, back from semi-retirement among ten new signings, all 'frees'.

Holman, whose career was interrupted by injury after he had scored 16 times in 18 games to fire Johnson's Cheltenham towards the NL title in 2016, has looked fit and sharp on his way to five goals in pre-season.

"Dan's story is bitter-sweet, with the ups and downs he's had, but I know what he's capable of," says veteran boss Johnson.

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"We both have something to prove by signing him, and it might prove to be one of my best ones.

"Last year Aaron Nemane took a while to get going, and people had their doubts about Lucas (Covolan) and whether he or Shaun (MacDonald) should be in goal, and one or two others.

"Now we've got a new squad that's adaptable, competitive and with talented lads with very good potential that we'll bring out.

"We finished second last year, our aim is to go one better this time and we can't wait to get started."