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Vanarama National League

National League notes: Sutton United to York City

In the final part of the National League round up, Ruth Tunnell takes a look at what teams such as Sutton United and York City have been up to during the close season.

Sutton United

The U’s beat Ebbsfleet United and the Stones to the National League South title last season. Sutton were crowned champions after getting 90 points from 42 games and they finished 13 points clear of Maidstone.

During the summer, the U’s lost winger Tom Bolarinwa to newly promoted Grimsby Town who won the National League play-offs to gain promotion to the Football League back in May. However, Roarie Deacon has come in from Crawley Town and manager Paul Doswell describes him as: “A direct replacement for Tom Bolarinwa.”

Also arriving at Gander Green Lane is Bradley Hudson-Odoi who was with Wealdstone last season and striker Chris Dickson who won two caps for Ghana in 2008 and 2009. Dickson has played for a number of clubs in the English Football League and he has also spent time in the Chinese Super League.

Torquay United

Torquay narrowly avoided relegation last season. The Gulls finished in 18th position and just three points above Halifax Town who dropped back into the National League North.

It has been a difficult summer for Torquay. Gaming International, who had made a bid to buy the club, pulled out due to an issue regarding the freehold of the club’s Plainmoor ground. Following this development, Chairman David Phillips has been quoted as saying the Gulls “need a cash injection.”

The Gulls have also seen defender Angus MacDonald move to Championship team Barnsley. But in better news for Torquay, winger Chay Scrivens,  comes in on a six-month loan from Premier League side West Bromwich Albion.

Tranmere Rovers

At the end of the 2015 / 2016 season, Tranmere finished in sixth position in the National League. They were just two points behind Dover Athletic who occupied the last play-off spot.

Rovers have had a busy summer as they look to strengthen their squad in order to make a return to the Football League. Amongst their signings are prolific striker Andy Cook from Barrow and Connor Jennings whose contract had expired at Wrexham. The 24 year old striker bagged 14 goals last season.

Meanwhile, Cole Stockton will spend another six months on-loan at League Two side Morecombe. And winger Jack Mackreth has opted to return to Macclesfield Town where he spent two seasons previously between 2012 and 2014.

Woking

The Cards finished last season in mid table occupying 12th place with 61 points from 46 games.

Like a number of clubs, Woking have been busy strengthening their squad this summer. One player who has left though is midfielder John Goddard who has joined League One side Swindon after scoring 17 goals in 41 appearances last season.

Coming in is a player who will be familiar to Stones fans. Midfielder Fabio Saraiva, who was with Maidstone United back in 2013, has joined the Cards.

Also signing is Dennon Lewis on a season long loan from Watford. Lewis can play as a centre forward or out on the wing. And goal keeper Michael Poke is another new face at the Laithwaite Community Stadium. Poke has had extensive experience in the Football League with clubs including Brighton and Northampton and he also had a spell with Eastleigh last season following his release from Portsmouth.

Wrexham

The Dragons are about to commence their ninth season in the National League after they were relegated from League Two in 2008.

Wrexham have recently taken back control of the Racecourse Stadium. Whilst this is good news off the pitch, this may have an impact on the playing side as there has been a financial short fall of £200,000 during this process.

There has been another blow for the Dragons as well. Former Livingston striker Jordan White will be out for two months due to issues with his bloodstream.

However, in better news, two strikers have arrived at the Racecourse. Tyler Harvey comes in from Plymouth Argyle and Shaun Harrard from Torquay. Another addition to the squad is Wales under-21 full back Jordan Evans who had been released by Fulham.

York City

The Minstermen were relegated back to the National League at the end of last season. York had been in the Football League since 2012 but they won only seven matches during 2015 / 2016 and so demotion was inevitable.

Understandably, a lot of changes have taken place at York over the summer with the club making numerous signings. Amongst those is midfielder Simon Heslop who spent time with both Wrexham and Torquay last season and striker Scott Fenwick who has been released by Hartlepool United. The Minstermen have also brought in goal keeper Luke Simpson from Watford and winger Kaine Felix who was at National League North side Boston United in 2015 / 2016.

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