Midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans tipped for return to Plainmoor

Midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK - Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Midfielder Connor Lemonheigh-Evans is top of the list of former Torquay United loanees tipped to return to Plainmoor next season - either as the Gulls' fifth permanent summer signing or for a third temporary spell.

Gulls officials, players and fans are reeling from the surprise announcement that the next National League season won't now start until Saturday, October 3 - three weeks later than expected.

But manager Gary Johnson is pressing ahead with plans for another signing to follow strikers Danny Wright and Andrew Nelson and centre-backs Gary Warren and Fraser Kerr, whose arrivals have all been revealed over the past seven days.

Lemonheigh-Evans, 23, who topped a recent poll of loanees whom fans would like to see back, has scored seven goals in 58 loan appearances over the last two seasons.

He has another year left on his contract at Bristol City, but his former Robins and Torquay teammate Jake Andrews waived a similar situation to join United last season, and Welsh Under-21 cap Lemonheigh-Evans may do the same.

If so, it will bring Johnson's senior squad up to 20 players.

The signings of centre-forward Wright (Solihull Moors) and centre-half Warren (Exeter City), both 35, had been rumoured for some time, but ex-Sunderland starlet Nelson, 22, also arrives from Scottish Championship club Dundee and Scottish defender Kerr, 27, from divisional rivals Hartlepool United.

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United were due to start full training this Saturday. But after the NL Board's decision, released late on Monday night, they immediately put it back three weeks, forcing a rethink of fitness regimes and practice matches.

The NL decision appears to be driven by concerns over crowd restrictions.

With a capacity of almost 6,500, Plainmoor officials are confident that they can accommodate 2,000-2,500 fans and still meet Government social distancing and other protocols.

But that does not apply to many other smaller National League stadia.