Loan star making the right impact at Plainmoor

Joseph Bulmer

Young midfielder Stephen Duke-McKenna, the second loan player that the club have signed from Queen's Park Rangers this season, is turning into a major asset as Torquay United try to mount a late charge towards the National League Play-Offs, says manager Gary Johnson.

Liverpool-born Duke-McKenna, who is proving every bit as popular as fellow QPR starlet Sinclair Armstrong, scored his second senior goal at King's Lynn Town last weekend.

It proved to be the winner in a 3-2 victory - centre-forward Danny Wright also scored twice - which stretched the Gulls' current run to eight wins and only two defeats in 15 games.

Johnson said: "I'm really pleased with him, and for him. It was a fantastic goal last Saturday - we've asked him to be more of a goal threat, and he's doing very well.

"There's not much of him, but he doesn't mind a tackle or a challenge in the air, and his brain and his feet work very quickly together.

"Stephen is a confident kid with that infectious Scouse humour.

"He's come into the club a long way from home, but he's got stuck in, the lads in the dressing-room like him, and I know our fans like him."

Duke-McKenna, who plays international football for Guyana, is with United to the end of the season, while striker Armstrong was recalled by QPR in January after two-and-a-half months at Plainmoor.

Gulls’ fans have been hoping that United might be able to get him back for a second spell.

But the 18-year-old Dubliner, whose final appearance was in a 2-1 New Year win at Yeovil Town, is impressing the Hoops in training, and there's every chance he will figure in their Championship team before the end of the season.

United (11th) are away to promotion-chasing FC Halifax Town this Saturday, followed by Aldershot Town and Weymouth at home next week.

Johnson has an almost all-fit squad - neither Joe Felix nor Klaidi Lolos was able to force their way onto the sub's bench at King's Lynn - and defender Joe Lewis will also be available at The Shay after a one-match suspension.

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