Lemonheigh-Evans poised to return from injury

Torbay Weekly

Player of the Year Connor Lemonheigh-Evans is poised to return for Torquay United after injury as they prepare to put first-day disappointment behind them away to National League promotion favourites Notts County on Saturday.

Attacking midfielder Lemonheigh-Evans missed last weekend's 3-1 home defeat by Altrincham, which prompted manager Gary Johnson to say: "It wasn't quite the performance we were all hoping for, but I know we've got a side here."

United memorably beat Notts 4-2 in last season's play-off semi-finals but they now face two ex-Plainmoor favourites - defender Kyle Cameron and winger Aaron Nemane - who both moved to Meadow Lane this summer.

A bank holiday double-header also sees United take on Woking at Plainmoor on Monday (3pm).

Meanwhile, repeated stoppages for head 'injuries' are already emerging as a potential obstacle in renewed attempts to tackle football's time-wasting problem, says Torquay United manager Gary Johnson.

Johnson, who has long complained about visiting teams' 'go-slow' tactics at Plainmoor, revealed officials are under fresh instructions this season to speed things up, and there is evidence, from the Premier League downwards, that they are responding.

There was also an increase in referees 'waving play on', even when players were grounded, in this summer's Euro 2020 Finals.

Fans welcomed the change, and the way VAR referrals were speeded up.

"The brief that we've been given is that referees are going to try and stop the obvious time-wasting situations," said Johnson.

"But the difficult area there is when players go down with a head knock."

The potential long-term effects of repeated blows around the head is an ongoing debate in several contact sports.

"None of us are doctors, and we have to be careful obviously," said Johnson. "But if it happens two or three times, I would expect a ref to look at it and wonder whether it's a time-wasting ploy.

"In my opinion, by the time a referee gets to our level (National League), he should have enough games under his belt where he can see if it's obvious time-wasting. That's whether it's the opposition or us as well.

"When the goalkeeper kicks his post a couple of times, goes across from one side of his box to the other and re-spots the ball before he takes a goal-kick - that's probably taking half-a-minute.

"It's the same in the first minute as it is five minutes from time. The warnings need to be earlier."