Truro City manager Paul Wotton has lauded the growing reputation of his club both on and off the pitch when it comes to attracting loan players to Treyew Road, writes Gareth Davies.
The White Tigers looked odds on to gain promotion back to National League South at the first attempt before covid-19 meant football at step three and below was declared null and void.
Part of Truro’s success was built on Wotton’s shrewd use of the loan market with temporary acquisitions such as Plymouth Argyle duo Luke Jephcott and Ryan Law excelling for the Cornish outfit.
Although some Truro regulars would have seen temporary transfers in 2019-20 as a stop-gap due to Wotton, who took over 11 months ago, being left with a wafer-thin squad after Paul Wilkinson’s departure, the current City incumbent views loan signings as an important part of managing any club below elite level.
“We’re now getting phone calls from professional clubs wanting us to take their players on loan,” Wotton exclusively told The Indy at a socially distanced press call this week. “That shows how far we have come and our loan players were so important for us last year. I think that all levels of football, especially in League One and Two, National League and lower, loans are important.
“You can’t have 18 boys on a contract and no loans so every club will take loans, but you must make sure you get the right ones, the right characters who are humble enough to work hard on not great pitches. They are used to playing on nice pitches and getting their kit washed, so I think it is great, not just from a football point of view, but from a lifestyle point of view.
“We look after them by playing football the right way but off the pitch we treat them right by looking after them with accommodation and expenses paid for. We are building a good reputation and pro clubs want to get their young players on loan to us. Going out on loan makes players grow up a lot and last year, the younger players who came in to the club were fantastic for us as we were for them.”
Of all those who took a sabbatical in the Duchy last term, Luke Jephcott had the biggest impact when returning to his parent club Plymouth Argyle.
The Wales-born teenager found the net for fun after the festive period, picked up individual accolades and has been rewarded with a new contract.
Wotton, who gave Jephcott his first team bow when assistant manager to Derek Adams at Home Park, isn’t surprised that the teenager made such an impact, but warned that more would be expected of him as Argyle will ply their trade in League One next term.
“He’s always been a really good finisher,” Wotton said of Jephcott. “I think there was a time when he classed himself as a winger, but the formation we played down here suited him perfectly.
“He’s very calm in front of goal, but he works hard and works hard at his game and has reaped the rewards by getting a new contract now and I’m really pleased for him. He’s had all the accolades like League Two player of the year, but League One is a big step up and he has to step up again.”
Along with Jephcott, promising left-back Law has also earned rave reviews from Argyle boss Ryan Lowe recently and despite Wotton admitting he would want the defender back at Treyew Road next term, the White Tigers chief championed the left-back hopefully progressing onto the Pilgrims’ first team.
“Would I want Ryan Law back next season? Of course I would, But I would rather Ryan Law was playing first team football (at Argyle) than playing for Truro,” he added.
“There is nothing I would like more than Will Swan, who scored nine in nine for us getting recalled by Nottingham Forest, a Championship club.
“The same with Will Dean who came down last year and was arguably our best player all season and he has got himself a new two-year deal at Exeter.
“Our loans last year were great and the best thing about it now is that pro clubs are trusting us to do the right thing for their players. We coach properly and I have been in the pro game for 26 years so I know what I am doing when it comes to coaching. I treat the players well and the club looks after them too. We get them minutes on the pitch and they have all benefited hugely from that.”