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Mark Ellis set to change Torquay United for Crewe Alexandra

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 27, 2012

Torquay United's Mark Ellis. Picture by Torbay News Agency

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Torquay United and Crewe Alexandra are close to finalising a deal, believed to be around £80,000, for Gulls defender Mark Ellis.

United turned down promoted Crewe's first offer, but the return from holiday of Alex manager Steve Davis has injected fresh impetus into the negotiations.

"We are in advanced talks, not far away in terms of a transfer fee, and hopefully it will develop over the next day or two. Something will get sorted," said Davis.

Kingsbridge-born Ellis, 23, has stressed his only interest in leaving Plainmoor, where he has been for nearly five years, is to play at a higher level.

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"I would be quite happy to re-sign at Torquay and give it 110 per cent next season if a move didn't happen, but I would like to play League One football if I can, and see how I progress," he said.

Ellis, who started his career as a teenager at Exeter City before moving to Bolton Wanderers' Academy, has made 136 appearances for Torquay, scoring 12 goals, since he joined the Gulls initially on loan in 2007.

United, who offered Ellis a new two-year contract midway through last season, would like a deal to be agreed without going to a transfer tribunal if possible.

It looks a matter of "when" rather than "if" with Ellis, which would make it one-out and one-in at Plainmoor.

With ex-loanee Ryan Jarvis and Damon Lathrope also signing new deals this week, manager Martin Ling has now signed long-time target Craig Easton in midfield.

The 33-year-old former Dundee United, Livingston, Leyton Orient, Swindon Town, Southend United and Dunfermline player has agreed a one-year contract, following a two-week trial at Torquay at the end of last season.

"I just wanted to find out if Craig was still fit, because of his age, but I always felt that would be fine – he was the fittest player I had at Orient, and I'm sure he will be the same at Torquay," said Ling.

"I always knew there was a player in him, because I worked with him for two years. He is the ideal type of character for our squad. He will stiffen up the competition in midfield. I know I can trust him.

"I know he is the ideal type of character for our squad. He was a massive part of my successful time at Orient and played a big role in our good Cup runs and the promotion to League 1, when he was a mainstay in my centre-midfield."

Easton, who won promotion at Orient under Ling in 2006, said: "I got to know the lads, and they got to know me a bit, when I was on trial down there before. I was delighted with the way that went, and I can't wait to take up this new challenge.

"Obviously, I would love to see us go one better, after the players did so well last season.

"I hope I can bring a bit more experience to the squad, and I am really determined to make next season a good one."

Ling has emphasised that he would sign Easton whether or not fellow midfielder Eunan O'Kane leaves the club.

O'Kane is still in talks with Crawley Town, who have already triggered the release clause in his contract by offering £175,000 for the 21-year-old Ulsterman.

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