THE POSSIBILITY that Torquay United might field a reserve team next season may have improved with the news that the Gulls are to sign two of their best second-year trainees to professional contracts.
Striker Ashley Yeoman and centre-half Ed Palmer have both accepted six-month deals.
With left winger Saul Halpin, who signed a pro contract midway through last season, they are the first players to graduate from the club's relaunched youth scheme.
There had been fears that financial belt-tightening at Plainmoor might mean fewer opportunities at that level.
But, following the news on Yeoman and Palmer, United's board was due to meet last night with the subject of a reserve team almost certainly on the agenda.
United would not be the first or only League club to operate without a competitive reserve side, but with a 'reserve' team playing a programme of regular friendlies.
Cardiff City, who came so close to reaching the Premier League this season, and League One Bristol Rovers are two clubs within United's range who do that now.
Their 'reserves' help to fill the considerable gap between youth and first-team football.
Yeoman and Palmer were due to put pen to paper on their deals today.
While there will inevitably be disappointment that one or two of their trainee teammates haven't made it, Yeoman and Palmer have always been leading contenders for a chance to prove themselves at senior level.
They progressed through United's Centres Of Excellence scheme.
Yeoman, from Kingsbridge, has been a consistent goalscorer at schools, youth and, as he proved during a successful loan spell with champions Bideford last season, at Toolstation Premier level.
Palmer, who lives near Totnes, is a tall and cultured central defender, who regularly chipped in with set-piece goals and also captained United's youth team last season.
With four days to go at reduced 'early bird' prices, sales of 2010-2011 United season-tickets have passed the 400-mark.
Adult prices are £279 on the Popular Side and £299 for seats or in the Enclosure, if they're bought before close of business on Friday.
From next Tuesday (June 1) they go up to £320 and £360 respectively.
Elsewhere in League Two, Hereford United could be sold this week.
Chairman Graham Turner, who has also been manager of the Bulls several times, is selling his shareholding after 15 years at Edgar Street.