Johnson promised cash to 'build bigger, stronger squad'

Torbay Weekly

Manager Gary Johnson says he's been promised funds to strengthen his squad after a series of Covid and injury issues caught up with Torquay United in Tuesday's night's 2-0 home defeat to play-off chasing Solihull Moors.

The result stalled United's own run of 16 points out of 21, and they now have another 10 game-free days before big-spending Wrexham come to Plainmoor on Saturday, February 5.

"We're going to need a bigger, stronger squad, and the board are very much in agreement with that," said Johnson.

"Everybody else wants the players you want and, as we've seen this week, sometimes they're prepared to pay big money."

Wrexham have just paid a club record £300,000 to sign striker Ollie Palmer from League One AFC Wimbledon.

"There are some strong teams in this league, and we want to be one of them," said Johnson.

"But people have to be a bit realistic - it doesn't mean, just because we're Torquay, that we can just run over them.

"If people come in, people have to go out - the ones on the periphery of the team.

"But I owe it to the ones I can rely on to add one or two now. We're talking to players and agents all the time, and we've got 10 days to work more on that."

The absence of key men Joe Lewis, Dean Moxey and Tom Lapslie had already prompted changes in defence and midfield, but the loss of Danny Wright (hamstring) after less than six minutes this week left United without a proper centre-forward.

The youthful Gulls, unchanged from Saturday's 2-1 win at Altrincham, gave it their best shot but without enough penetration near goal and they missed key chances at 0-0 in the second half.

The reshuffled defence just about held out, with goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald again in fine form, but Solihull's extra power and experience was visibly getting to Torquay in the closing stages.

The 2-0 score may have been harsh but sub Kyle Hudlin's backheel (85mins) and Andrew Dallas' stoppage-time goal confirmed what many in the 2,469 crowd had feared might be coming.

"In the second half we looked like we were hanging on, and that's disappointing because my teams don't usually look like that," admitted Johnson.