Big test for Gulls tonight

Torbay Weekly

Overwhelming Wealdstone at Plainmoor may have been one thing, but Torquay United must now show that their recent improvement is for real, when they travel to top-ten duo Boreham Wood on Tuesday night (7.45pm) and then Bromley on Saturday.

Seven points from three unbeaten games, including that 5-0 rout of the Stones at the weekend, has put a spring back into the step of Gulls fans.

But manager Gary Johnson says: "It frustrates me a bit, when we win a game, that there's a few people, not many, who always say the opposition were poor.

"Wealdstone have had some decent results, and we made them look not very good

"But it's always a big test at Boreham Wood and Bromley.

"If we can get anywhere near the levels we showed on Saturday, against a slightly better team, we will give ourselves a real chance."

And, although highlights like Joe Lewis' goal-to-remember and Dan Holman's sharp first two goals for the club, remain from last Saturday, it was the progress of new signings like Keelan O'Connell and Dan Martin which also took Johnson's eye.

"Some of our new young lads, like Dan, Keelan and Ali (Omar), they've not really played that many games for a team that needs to win the league.

"The football they've been playing has not been 'life or death'.  Now it's a living at stake.

"That's what I try to explain to them.  That's the level they have to get up to.  And the style of football we try to play - what I keep calling 'relentless' - can be tough to learn.

"It's a delicate balance between cracking it and not cracking it.  To crack what we try to do, you need to have the character to handle it.

"It's got to be ruthless at times, but the lads who have been through it before are pleased when the new ones do get it."

The Gulls have no new selection worries and, although centre-forward Danny Wright is still out, there is a chance that either Chiori Johnson or Alex Addai, also both injured against Wealdstone, might be back.

Fourth-placed Boreham Wood often start well, and they have done again - only one defeat in the first nine games.

Long-serving manager Luke Garrard may have lost striker Kabby Tshimanga to Chesterfield, but he went for big money, reportedly well over £200,000.

That windfall plus the club's still-lucrative link with Arsenal (Ladies/U23) has allowed Garrard to bring in players like midfielder Frankie Raymond (Bomley) and ex-Gulls loanees Josh Rees (Aldershot) and Scott Boden (Chesterfield).

The fact that Wood have been unchanged for eight games confirms that they have steered clear of injuries so far, and they go into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw at Eastleigh, a Boden penalty earning them a point there.

Meanwhile, United's Under-18 side are through to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup after a 5-0 win at Bishops Lydeard on Monday night.

Theo Cadby scored four goals and Jaydon Gilbert one as the young Gulls earned a trip to Oxford City next week.