Albion close in on capture of former Chiefs back Walker-Blair after trial
Plymouth Albion are in talks with former Exeter Chiefs and Jersey player Charlie Walker-Blair about a move to Brickfields.
The Championship club have also agreed a deal for former hooker Davy McGregor to return to Brickfields on a permanent basis after spending the last month on trial.
Walker-Blair is looking for a club after his move to Premiership side Sale Sharks fell through.
The 25-year-old agreed to join Sale at the end of April from Championship side Jersey. But Walker-Blair's move north collapsed after he failed a medical with the Manchester-based club. He contacted Albion, where he once guested for their development team as a youngster before joining Exeter, and they have offered him a part-time contract.
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Albion head coach James Shanahan said: "Charlie has had bad luck with injuries over the last few seasons. He went up to Sale after agreeing a contract, but unfortunately he failed his medical as he had a slight shoulder problem that they would not cover. He decided to move back to Taunton. He still wants to play and we have held talks with him.
"I think he knows he has had some bad luck, but he's got over that and just wants to play."
As well as Jersey and Exeter, Walker-Blair has also played for Taunton and the Cornish Pirates as a dual-registered player. Although Shanahan is still waiting to hear if Walker-Blair will become an Albion player, he has secured the services of McGregor.
The Irish hooker previously spent the 2011-12 season with Plymouth before moving to Coventry.
"Davy has agreed terms so he will be staying," said Shanahan. "You need three hookers, and, if you have the luxury, four. It's the same with scrum-half players. We needed Davy and he has done well. He has impressed with his attitude and has worked really hard. He knows a lot of the boys and gets on well with them."
McGregor's signing is important as dual-registered hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie is facing six weeks out due to a knee problem that needs surgery.
"Tom Cowan-Dickie needs to have an operation on his knee," admitted Shanahan. "Exeter are dealing with that. Once he has the op, it should be a three or four week clear-out, so it should not be too bad."
Another player needing an operation is forward Harrison Tovey.
"Harrison will be having an operation on his bicep next week," said Shanahan. "He should be back just for the start of the season, if not the week after. It's disappointing for him as he has been outstanding [in pre-season]. He's the strongest and the fittest in the team, so it would have been good to see him on the field.
"He was devastated, but we will get it rehabbed and get him working hard. He's got a good attitude and we should be able to get him fit for Jersey game of the week after."
Shanahan added: "He has done all the hard work and impressed in the conditioning stuff and he just wants to play. That is why he was so disappointed.
"It's a new coach, new team and he wants to make his imprint. But it is a long season. He will get an opportunity. Like anyone, if they don't play against Jersey in that first league game, it doesn't mean they are never going to play for Albion. It's a long season and they are going to be ups and down, highs and lows."
The good news, though, for Albion is that fellow hooker Gareth Evans has recovered from an ankle injury and will be fit for the club's pre-season double-header against Aberavon and Exmouth at Brickfields this Saturday.