TAUNTON Town’s big cup adventures are over for another season, and so the focus switches to the nitty gritty of a league play-off challenge.

Boss Rob Dray was eager to bolster his squad in anticipation of the weekend and midweek battles to come, and has landed Lewis Hall (from Hereford) and Ed Palmer (from Truro) – both starting against Swindon Supermarine last Saturday.

With Dray switching between three and four at the back since taking charge, it’s important to have players who can do a solid job in several positions.

Hall is a prime example of that, as a natural left-footer who can take some of the strain off Shane White at left-back, and potentially Ryan Brett, Matt Buse and Ollie Chamberlain in midfield.

His arrival allows White to move into central defence, as he did on Saturday, or perhaps midfield.

White is one of several candidates to fill the two/three centre-back berths, alongside Ben Adelsbury, Keith Emmerson, Josh Nelmes, Brett Trowbridge and now Palmer too.

Before the Supermarine game, Palmer’s last match at Taunton had ended with him being sent off in the Peacocks’ play-off semi-final defeat to Tiverton Town in 2017.

That was one of two reds for Palmer in the 2016/17 season, which also saw him pick up 19 bookings.

This campaign he’s been sent off against Hemel Hempstead, and scored a free-kick against Weston-super-Mare.

For all of his quality – he passes the ball well, and who could forget that thunderous free-kick at Barrow two years ago? – he’s no good to you if he’s sat out through suspension.

Dray, it must be said, is not concerned.

He told the County Gazette this week: "Ed is a happy player now he’s back with us.

“He set the tempo from the start with his range of passing, and he was big and strong for us.

“He’s working hard and doing bits of training on his own, as he’s surrounded by his mates here and he wouldn’t let them down.”

In an ideal world, a three-man Taunton backline would consist of Adelsbury, Emmerson and White... Em(m)erson, Lake and Palmer not yet being an option.

To my mind, their defence is at its strongest with Emmerson in it, given his bravery, organisational skills and expert positioning – but at 35 years old and with coaching commitments to balance, he can’t play every game.

Trowbridge has filled in well as sweeper this season, and Palmer will look to do the same in the months ahead.

That disciplinary record remains a concern, in my view, but if he goes on to help the Peacocks reach the play-offs, I don’t think the club and the fans will care about a few cards.