BOBBY Wilkinson has left the Weymouth door open for striker Brad Ash amid the plight of Torquay United.

Ash, 27, was the golden boot winner at the Terras last season, scoring 24 goals in 52 appearances as Weymouth beat the National League South drop.

His efforts secured him a full-time move to Plainmoor under Gary Johnson, but the striker has only returned eight goals in 28 appearances this season.

One of those strikes came against the Terras in the Gulls’ 3-1 victory back in December, but the striker holds no animosity towards his former club and regularly keeps in contact with Wilkinson.

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When news of Torquay’s intention to file for administration broke on Thursday, Wilkinson revealed he instantly had Ash in mind.

He told Echosport: “I won’t lie, I phoned Brad Ash within 10 seconds.

“Everyone knows I absolutely love him. He is a contracted player at Torquay. I just wanted to remind him, if he did leave, to make sure he picks up the phone to me.

“We’re very close, we speak every week. He enjoyed playing under me and I enjoyed working with him.

“I’m truly sorry what’s going on with Torquay at the moment, but all I’m worried about is my own team and club. I’ve been in enough struggles as it is in the last year.

“I will continue to keep working and building for Weymouth Football Club.”

Ash was on the scoresheet in front of a bumper crowd of more than 3,000 as Torquay drew 2-2 with Aveley at the weekend.

When asked if he would enquire over the availability of any other Torquay player, Wilkinson replied: “Don’t get wrong, there’s two or three that I would love but we can’t afford them.

“We can’t even afford Brad. But guess what, as a manager you’ve still got to do your job. If I could get them on loan, that’s what I’m trying to do.

“My recruitment on loan has been good. I won’t deny, when I heard about (Torquay) at five minutes past 12, at six minutes past 12 I was on the phone to Brad Ash.

“People out there have seen the loan deals I’m going for. If they’re coming out on loan, you can get them for basically half price.

“You never know, you might get them. I never thought I’d get Alfie Rutherford when I went for him. But, if you work extremely hard and keep pestering the managers, and you know them, they end up breaking down and they go: ‘You can have him’.

“I got Harry Parsons for a month and I’ve ended up getting him for five months.

“You’ve got to continue to stay class, work professional and look after the players. But, let the opposition manager know what their players are doing.

“I do a hell of a lot of that detail behind the scenes.”

Weymouth host Torquay United on Saturday (3pm), with £5 from every adult away ticket sale going to the Torquay United Supporters' Trust.