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Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders hopes to have landed a lower-league gem in striker Trevan Robinson while new goalkeeper announcement imminent

Jay Saunders sees big potential in Tonbridge summer signing Trevan Robinson.

Robinson has joined the Angels after scoring 19 goals for Leatherhead in Isthmian South Central last season.

Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders. Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge Angels manager Jay Saunders. Picture: David Couldridge

The 21-year-old also provided 19 assists for the Tanners in his first season playing as a central striker.

His form alerted Saunders who hopes to have landed another lower-league gem.

“I’m pleased to get that one over the line,” said the Angels boss.

“I think he’s someone who’s got a chance of kicking on.

“It’s up to him how far he goes. He’s got all the tools, all the ability, it’s just a case of him stepping up to National South level.

“You never quite know when you take boys from lower levels how quickly they’ll adapt.

“But we’ve had a good chat and I’ve said to him if you put in the work in, I think you’ve got the qualities to have an impact.

“The biggest thing is he’s desperate to do well for himself and his family.

“He’s a really nice lad and someone I’m looking forward to working with. His attitude was spot on.

“The minute I spoke to him, it was about how we play, what role we see him in.

“It was football, football, football.

“With a lot of lads these days, it’s money first and football after, so it was quite refreshing.

“To be honest, all the boys we’ve signed this summer have been like Trevan.

“They’ve wanted to come to the club and that’s the type of player you want to sign.

“Trevan’s not played this level before but everyone’s got to be given that opportunity.

“He can play up top, out wide, in behind, he gives us good options and he’s got pace, which you always want.

“We try to do our homework and keep tabs on the lower leagues and find these gems that maybe other people aren’t looking at.

“I actually went to look at another lad from Leatherhead who went elsewhere in National South and that’s when Trevan stood out.

“He’s come in and picked himself the No.9 squad number, he’s got that belief in himself, and he’ll be given every opportunity.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you come in and do well, you keep the shirt.”

Right-back Tariq Hinds has left Tonbridge in search of full-time football.

He was offered a new deal at Longmead but Saunders had to draw a line.

“We’d have liked to have kept him because I think we suit him,” said Saunders.

“Our pitch suited him, everything suited him.

“I was just a little bit disappointed how long it was taking for him to come back to us and then you hear he’s talking to other clubs.

“He was grateful for the opportunity here - he was good for us and we were very good for him - but he wants to play full-time football which is something we can’t offer him.”

Tonbridge are close to naming their replacement for long-serving goalkeeper Jonny Henly.

Henly was released at the end of last season and has since joined Isthmian Premier Folkestone.

A keeper is in the bag while Saunders isn’t quite finished strengthening his squad.

“We’ve signed a keeper but that can’t be announced at the moment,” said Saunders.

“I know a lot of people are worried we haven’t got a keeper but that’s all done and there’ll be an announcement soon hopefully.

“We’re also working hard to get an experienced centre-half and an experienced holding midfielder.

“It’s really important we got those right but I’m excited with where the squad is at the moment.

“Other than Trevan, we’ve signed lads who’ve played at this level or higher, and last year we didn’t have that.

“We’ve got a good blend.”

Tonbridge have certainly made good progress since a slow start to the summer.

The likes of Noel Leighton, Jeremy Santos, Taylor Maloney and Tom Clifford are exciting signings.

“It can be frustrating at times but I know where we’re at and what we can afford and we have to take our time a little bit,” said Saunders.

“Probably what we offer players isn’t what they’re looking for so a lot of the time they go away and see what else they can get and then they come back.

“It’s frustrating when you want to get things done but I understand that.

“We have to make sure we get the right players and not rush and sign people for the sake of it.

“We’ve been patient and all the players we’ve signed we’ve had a lot of competition for, so I think that shows as a club and a coaching team we’re doing something right.

“People seem to want to come to us.”

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