FORMER NEWCASTLE United starlet Daniel Leadbitter and ex-Gulls loanee Joe Oastler completed a hat-trick of signings by new Torquay United boss Martin Ling.
On the busiest transfer day of his reign so far, Ling sealed two-year deals with Leadbitter and Oastler and brought versatile forward Chris McPhee back to Plainmoor.
It's a long way from Tyneside to the English Riviera, but right-back Leadbitter, 20, has made the switch to spark his senior career with the Gulls.
Ling first spotted the former Toon trainee playing for Newcastle's reserves when, after leaving Leyton Orient two years ago, he did a spell of scouting for Hibernian.
Towards the end of last season Ling watched Leadbitter again, when he was working for his old No.2 Dean Smith, now manager of Walsall.
Leadbitter flew back to Newcastle after signing for United yesterday.
But Ling said: "Daniel has had his education in four years at Newcastle.
"He now needs to go out and learn the game, and that's what we'll teach him.
"There is a big difference between playing for the reserves to Torquay United's first team, but I am confident he can do the job.
"He's had a few offers, including a couple from Scotland, but I've always kept tabs on him.
"Daniel played at right-back when I watched him – he was very athletic, caused problems going forward and defended the back post well."
Leadbitter may well find himself in competition with Oastler, who will be 21 on Sunday.
The former Portsmouth and QPR youngster has earned his deal on the back of a seven-month loan spell at Plainmoor last season.
Oastler made 30 appearances, mainly in midfield.
Ling said: "Joe's versatility is shown in that he can play centre-midfield, centre-back if needed and many from QPR, including Neil Warnock, would say that right-back is his best position.
"He is now a fully fledged Torquay United player, and he will be looking to kick on in his career."
United winger Danny Stevens is also due to sign a new contract, for his fifth season with the club, at the end of the week.
Former Leyton Orient and Cambridge United centre-back Brian Saah is likely to join Ling's new-look squad soon.
And United are also being linked with another of Ling's successful Orient team, central midfielder Craig Easton.
Easton has turned down a new deal at League Two rivals Southend, where he was captain last season.
If Easton does join Torquay, it may well affect United's interest in their former promotion winning midfielder Alex Russell.
That's even though Russell, 37, who has held talks with Ling over a possible player-coach role, has officially left League One Yeovil Town.