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Ling pleased to have 'keeper Rice on board for second stint at Plainmoor

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: July 16, 2011

Goalkeeper Martin Rice has returned to Plainmoor after two years with Truro City picture: Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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Goalkeeper Martin Rice has returned to Plainmoor as the understudy to recent recruit Bobby Olejnik.

Rice, who came through the youth scheme at Exeter City, left the Gulls to join non-League outfit Truro City in 2009, and his two years away from the full-time professional game has given him a fresh hunger to succeed.

Torquay manager Martin Ling reckons it is a sensible and logical choice to complete his goalkeeping line-up with a player of Rice's experience.

"We have looked at a few options in the goalkeeping department," said Ling. "We've spoken to a few clubs about loaning a goalkeeper but it has always been: 'Can you wait until pre-season is halfway through?'

"I heard about Martin having an agreement with Truro that, if a League club came in for him, he was allowed to leave, even though he was under contract, and that opened my ears a bit.

"I felt it was an opportunity we couldn't miss because he's got experience, he's local, done the job before and fits the remit of a second-choice goalkeeper.

"He's here to push the first choice [Olejnik] and, if we need to use that second choice, I'm very comfortable with Martin because he's done it before.

"After speaking with him for the first time, the hunger within him to play professional football again after two years away has convinced me of the deal.

"He wants to be a professional footballer again so much and that drive has convinced me that he is the answer as our second-choice goalkeeper.

"He has developed as a goalkeeper and grown up as a person. When something you've taken for granted is taken away, it can make you grow up so much and want to succeed.

"Everybody knows him at the club but I'm not really interested in what has gone on previously.

"After speaking with [goalkeeping coach] Kenny Veysey, who has worked with Martin, and speaking to people from Truro, I'm very happy he has come in. All good goalkeepers can go on to the age of 40 and Martin is only 25."

The 25-year-old Rice could make his return to action for the Gulls in their pre-season friendly against Bristol City at Plainmoor today (3pm).

"I would have liked him to train with the team but he is up to speed, and will go in the squad for the game against Bristol City," said Ling.

Bristol City have brought a squad of 24 senior players to Devon for last night's friendly at Plymouth Argyle and today's game at Plainmoor.

Former Argyle forward Yannick Bolasie will start today, while summer signing Ryan Taylor will lead the Robins' attack alongside Brett Pitman. Former England stalwart David James will play in goal against the Gulls.

Bristol City starting XI: James; Edwards, Carey, Nyatanga, Ball; Bolasie, Johnson, Elliott, Woolford; Pitman, Taylor.

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