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Exeter City sign Crystal Palace's Luke Croll on loan until mid-January

31 August 2016

Left-footed defender joins and goes into the squad for Saturday's match at Colchester United

Exeter City have signed Crystal Palace’s Luke Croll on a loan deal until January 14.

The 21-year-old left-footed defender joins the Grecians in the midst of an injury crisis that has seen captain Jordan Moore-Taylor, Troy Archibald-Henville and Craig Woodman all sidelined.

As a result, Croll is likely to go straight into contention for a starting place for Grecians' trip to Colchester United on Saturday.

“It is a much-needed signing in a problematic area that has arose for us in the last three or four weeks,” said City manager Paul Tisdale

“He is a left-sided defender, predominantly a centre-back. We have discussed him, and others, over the past week or two and he fitted the bill in many ways.”

Croll, who joined the Palace academy at the age of nine, has yet to make a first team appearance for the Eagles but did spend some time on loan at Plymouth Argyle last season.

Croll’s Football League debut actually came in a match against City when the Grecians won 2-1 at Home Park thanks to a double from Ryan Harley. Tis admits that his experience of playing League Two football will stand him in good stead.

“Luke will certainly add strength to the squad,” said Tis.  “He is a match-ready player who needs to find his feet very quickly with us and pick up his place in the team.

“He is coming into a team that needs to win games, or get points, and toughen up in certain areas. That is what we will be asking him to him to do.”

City don’t often go into the loan market for their signings, concentrating on promoting their own players to the first team, but following a succession of injuries to key players Tis admitted they were left with no real alternative and he thanked the club’s board for their support.

“We do need reinforcements and I’d like there to be another, if I can do it,” he said. “Troy Archibald-Henville has been out for a number of weeks, five or six now, and will be out for a few more. He has been missing and Jordan Moore-Taylor and Craig Woodman between them have taken an awful lot of bumps and bruises. And without those players we are under strength, there is no doubt about it.

“After the game on Saturday (against Portsmouth) we discussed it and the board have been very, very supportive in trying to make it happen. They have found the opportunity for me to do something, so thank you very much.”

In other deadline day transfer news Jamie Reid has extended his loan with Torquay United until January. The striker initially joined the Gulls on a three-month loan deal in late July, but having played seven times and scored two goals he will now stay at Plainmoor until the new year.

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