Aaron Downes suspended from the technical area

Torbay Weekly

Torquay United's assistant manager Aaron Downes has been given a two-match ban for his 'sending-off' at Stockport County a fortnight ago, covering the Gulls' final game of the National League season at Altrincham this Saturday (12.30pm) and the Play-Off Semi-Final on June 12.

The suspension applies only to Downes' presence in the 'technical area'.

Former Chesterfield and Gulls defender Downes was dismissed at Stockport for his protests to the Fourth Official over a series of decisions in the first half of the 2-2 draw.

Manager Gary Johnson said: "Aaron is disappointed, as we all are, partly because as a player and coach he's had no 'previous' of disciplinary problems, but it is what it is."

Downes, who has also been fined, commented: "I accept it was my fault. It was a poor decision from me."

Downes has travelled with the team to Altrincham, he can take part in the warm-up and be in the dressing-room before, at half-time and after the game.

He simply has to spend the 90 minutes in the grandstand, while Head of Youth Chris Todd, himself ex-manager of Eastleigh, will be with Johnson on the touchline at Moss Lane.

Already assured of second place, and waiting to see who they might meet (5th-v-6th) in the PO Semis, the Gulls are trying to set a new club record of 13 away league wins.

They are also hoping to avoid a rare losing 'double', after Altrincham beat them 2-1 at Plainmoor in February.

Johnson has stressed that it's all about the Play-Offs now and planning for them - United will play a behind-closed-doors friendly at Plainmoor next Saturday when the PO Elimination Round takes place - but he will not want to end a memorable league programme on a defeat.

A 15-game run of ten wins, four draws and only one loss is good form by any standards.

They have no new injury worries against Altrincham (17th), whose manager Phil Parkinson has been able to start drawing up his retained-list - forwards Joe Piggott and Yusifu Ceesay have already been released.

The Play-Offs are still very much up for grabs.

Either Stockport (2nd/74pts), who play Yeovil away, or Hartlepool (3rd/73), who are home to Weymouth, will secure the important third place.

Only Notts County (5th/70) are assured of post-season action, but below them two points cover the next five teams.

Notts travel to Bromley (9th) in one of two huge games - the other is FC Halifax Town (10th)-v-Chesterfield (7th).

Wrexham (6th) go to in-form Dagenham (12th).  Eastleigh (8th) could still get in if they win at Solihull Moors and other results go their way.

Meanwhile, United's youth midfielder Scott Piper has followed 2019-2020 picks JJ Evans and Owen Price in earning selection for the English Colleges FA squad.

South Devon College student Piper, and Under-18 team-mates Theo Cadby and Luis Edmondson, all took part in the ECFA trials, but it was Piper who made it to the final roster.