Confident Torquay United ahead of 'no-fans' game

Torbay Weekly

Decisions, Decisions - with leading scorer Armani Little poised to return after a short bout of sickness, Torquay United manager Gary Johnson will almost certainly have another big one to make ahead of Saturday's 'no-fans' game against Wealdstone at Grosvenor Vale (3pm).

Without Little in midfield, the Gulls put in a thoroughly decent performance in Tuesday's 0-0 draw against promotion-chasing Boreham Wood at Plainmoor, but his availability is bound to spark some interesting selection discussions between Johnson and assistant Aaron Downes.

In a return to the atmospheres that accompanied most of last season under Covid 'lockdowns', Grosvenor Vale will ring only to the shouts of players and coaches.

The Stones have been ordered by their local council to shut the ground until they have completed work on a perimeter fence re-damaged against Wrexham last Saturday.

Thursday's news was a big disappointment to the hundreds of Gulls fans who had ringed this fixture on their 'to do away' list and made all the usual plans.

In-form United, still chasing the Play-Offs, need to win this one after home draws against Barnet and Boreham Wood, but they have lost only twice in 12 games, taking 24 points out of those 36, and Johnson says: "We are still where we needed to be at the start of this run, and the lads are confident.

"If we get a result at Wealdstone, the Bromley game (home next Saturday) becomes a six-pointer."

Bromley currently occupy the final Play-Off spot, nine points ahead of United.

The Gulls did not appear to sustain any new injuries against Boreham Wood, and the return to the starting line-up of centre-forward Danny Wright was a timely boost.

Like several of the teams in the bottom half of the table, Wealdstone - United beat them 5-0 at Plainmoor in early October - have pulled off the odd surprise result, especially at home where their always noisy fans are a help to them.

So the absence of supporters this weekend will be a football blow, as well as a financial one, for the Stones, who have lost eight of their last 12 games.

Having struggled to make an impact at Plainmoor last season, striker Josh Umerah has been their main man in attack, scoring ten goals so far, although fellow ex-Gull Matt Buse has been sidelined since the end of last month.

The referee is David Richardson from the West Riding - he kept all cards in his pocket during United's recent 2-1 win at Altrincham.