A Torquay fan’s view of Dan Lavercombe

Dan Lavercombe. Photo courtesy of Western Morning News.

Dan Lavercombe.
Photo courtesy of Western Morning News.

A couple of weeks ago Wigan Athletic announced the signing of 19 year old Torquay United goalkeeper, Dan Lavercombe.  Lavercombe has returned back to Torquay on loan for the rest of the season.

The Torquay-born Lavercombe played at Exeter City in his early teens then passed through the Gulls’ now-closed academy.  He made his first team debut for Torquay last season in a 2-0 defeat at Aldershot on Easter Monday and signed a professional contract with them in summer. On signing the professional contract manager Chris Hargreaves commented:

“He wants to stay so we’re happy to do that. We’ve got a real prospect with Dan, I’m looking forward to working with him….I know people are looking at him already and I don’t blame them for doing that because I’ve got no doubt that he’s going to have a good long career. He’s very calm and very assured for someone of his age.”

Lavercombe  was to  establish himself as first choice goalkeeper. He had certainly attracted a considerable amount of interest from other clubs, having trained with Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers in addition to Wigan.

In order to learn more about Lavercombe we reached out to the Forum at www.TorquayFans.com . What follows is a compilation of views put forward by people contributing to the Forum.  Our thanks to all for their input and to the site for making it possible.

Drummergull90 tells us that:

Dan is a local lad and Torquay fan as far as I am aware. Tall, composed and mature for his age. Came in to a struggling team at the end of last season and his presence at the back was hugely reassuring. At 18 it was remarkable that he didn’t seem nervous or at all phased by it. I believe he kept three clean sheets on the bounce. This season he started as number 2 to Fabian Speiss but has made the shirt his own in recent times. Seems to improve every time I see him. He does however have a tendency to be beaten by long-range shots and hopefully this is something your coaches will work on with him. He has the potential to be a very good keeper. Probably Championship standard. Was on trial at Liverpool in the summer and had also previously been linked with Bolton before their financial troubles. The fee has been rumoured at around £30k with add-ons.

According to yellowforever:

I like him a lot. Technically a good keeper but I’ve been impressed by his confidence and commanding of the defence. Many other factors are involved of course but since he’s made the no.1 spot his own, we’ve looked a lot more solid in defence. His improvement over the last few years has been rapid, and I see no reason why he can’t continue to do so with you guys next season.

Ferrarilover comments that:

Danny boy has gone from shot stopper to goalkeeper with the addition of one crucial element: starting position. He now adopts such a good starting position so much of the time that he has developed command of his area and makes himself seem a much better goalkeeper than he was even a few months ago. He needs to work on his kicking under pressure and his kicking decision making, but aside from that, he’s good to go.

Torq2u mentions the calamitous 3-7 mauling that Torquay took from Bromley in September:

The 3-7 result was not down to Dan! It was the culmination of great unrest at the club with staff, players and fans not really knowing what the heck was going on and if the club would still exist the next day! To Dan’s credit, he has more than “bounced back” from that upset and acquitted himself well over recent weeks, amid the rumours and negotiations surrounding his transfer to WIgan. His current (new) coach here has commented on his command of the area and has stated he will work specifically on Dan becoming more vocal. Oh, and I think Dan has a bright future ahead of him. And the future is orange (his preferred colour!).


Nottingham Forest vs. Wigan Athletic: Match Preview

After witnessing champagne moments in Latics’ victory at Southampton on Saturday, up comes another match. It is the Capital One Cup, the latest name for the Football League Cup. Will it be champagne or mere morsels this time around? One recalls the heroics of the 2005-2006 Latics side, knocking out Arsenal in the semi-final, only to be undone by Manchester United in Cardiff. It was not so much champagne football with that Latics side in their first Premier League season, but it was exuberant and exciting.

I liked the name of the “Milk Cup”, that the tournament had in the 80’s when sponsored by Dairy Crest. The League Cup is still with us, despite the sparse attendances it has suffered since its introduction in 1960. In those days the FA Cup was a big thing, drawing in the crowds. Maybe they thought the League Cup could get on that same bandwagon? The reality has been that most Premier League clubs have repeatedly put out weakened teams in this competition, so “giant killing” has been prevalent, at least on outward appearance.

I really enjoyed the Southampton match. Two well taken goals, but more than that it was an oozing of sheer class by Latics that sticks in my mind. There was a spell in the second half where Latics just wouldn’t let Southampton get the ball. The passing ability of Latics’ defenders defies belief compared the norms of previous eras. Robert Martinez has got his team playing stylish, skillful football whilst maintaining a steely, competitive edge. How ironic that Brendan Rodgers has been lauded for the good football his Swansea team played last season. No disrespect to Rodgers, who did a great job taking Swansea into the Premier League and having a good first season. However, it is the Martinez stamp that reigns indelible on the Swansea style of play.

When I trawled the Latics news on the internet a few minutes ago I found headlines such as “Martinez set to rotate squad” and “ Martinez set to test squad depth”. Hardly a surprise. In the old days it would be said that he is putting out his reserve team. I suppose the difference now is that those fringe first team squad players rarely play for the reserves .

So it is an opportunity for squad players who have not started so far this season. If so a possible line-up could be: Pollitt – Lopez, Golobart, Kiernan – Stam, Watson, Fyvie (or Jones), Beausejour (or Jones) – Crusat, Boselli, Miyaichi (or McManaman). Not to forget Mustoe and Redmond plus players from the development squad. On paper this looks like a strong enough lineup, but in reality it would be a team that has never played together. On the more positive side Latics have a way of playing that these players can fit into. Martinez continues to view these matches as opportunities for players to show their mettle and their willingness to challenge for a place in the starting lineup. In reality we have seen some abject performances in the cup competitions over the last few years.

Nottingham Forest finished 19th in the Championship last year. They have won one and drawn two of their matches  this season. Like Wigan, they also need to look at upcoming fixtures. One cannot predict what type of lineup they will put out. How things have changed over recent years. Forest were twice European champions under Brian Clough  when Latics were still newcomers in the fourth tier of the Football League.

It would be nice to have another great run in the League Cup. However, performance in cup competitions under Roberto Martinez has been mediocre – it has clearly not been a priority. However, one hopes that those players who make the lineup tonight will play with the passion, skill and professionalism that the first choice lineup showed at Southampton at the weekend.