FLYING winger Tom Blair believes his good finish to last season can help him stake a claim for a regular Weymouth starting XI spot in 2022/23.

Blair, who was signed on an 18-month deal by previous boss Brian Stock, played 25 times for the Terras but had to bide his time before becoming a more frequent fixture under new manager David Oldfield.

Blair, 23, responded by scored twice and provided two assists late in the 2021/22 campaign, finishing as one of the rare shining lights in a team consigned to relegation.

The former Eastleigh and Dorchester man also grabbed the winner in the 2-1 victory over Dover Athletic in the final game of the season.

Speaking to Echosport about his promising end-of-season form, he said: “Relegation coming fairly early, it let the shackles off a few players.

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“Obviously it’s disappointing that we got relegated but we treated the last few games as having nothing to lose.

“When you play like that, there’s not as much pressure on you. It was nice to end on a few goals and assists.

“It took a while to earn my place in the starting XI under the new gaffer. Hopefully with the performances I put in at the end of the season, he saw encouraging things.

“Hopefully I can take that into this season.”

He added: “Brian brought me in at the start and I didn’t have too much time with him.

“The way (Oldfield) plays is a lot more physically demanding which I think I had to get used to. It took a few weeks to get to grips with what he wanted from us individually.

“Working with him and Tom (Donati), I think we’ve got to quite a good place. It was a shame the season ended when it did. It would’ve been nice to get ten or so games together.”

Opening up on his stoppage-time winner at Dover, Blair said: “The fans, they deserved to go out on a high with the disappointment of relegation.

“They still travelled in their numbers to Dover, fair play to them.

“That just shows their support is really good and even with nothing riding on the game it felt good for them to celebrate something.”

And Blair believes Weymouth can build on the victory heading into their Vanarama National League South campaign.

He said: “We had some good performances since the new gaffer came in.

“We’ve just got to take the positives, try and build on them. We’ll have a completely new squad next year along with a couple of the same faces the gaffer wants.

“We can really try and build and take that into next season, hopefully start really well and see where we go.”

Picking up on any potential new teammates in what has so far been a tranquil summer of player activity for Weymouth, Blair has confidence in Oldfield to bring in quality and suitable players.

He said: “He knows what he’s doing. He’s experienced at the level we’re about to go into, so I don’t think he’d go into this season unprepared.

“It’s hard to attract players, especially in the area we’re in. It’s not the biggest catchment area so it’s quite hard for the club to get players, they have to branch out to further away places.

“Then you’ve got to relocate and all those things come in to it. He’s got a lot of knowledge and I don’t doubt that he’s going to put a good squad together.”