Byron back for Westcountry derby
- Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK
Fitness concerns, both for injured players and ones on the way back, have clouded Gary Johnson's selection decisions for most of this season, but he should at least have experienced winger Byron Moore available again as Torquay United tackle one of this season's Westcountry derbies at Weymouth on Saturday (3pm).
The Gulls' manager left Moore out of last weekend's 3-2 home defeat by FC Halifax Town because the former Crewe, Port Vale, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle player was deemed to need at least another week of hard training to bring him closer to match-fitness.
Moore, who made his United debut off the bench at Wrexham five weeks ago, had been without a club since his release at Plymouth last May.
"Byron has trained well, with a smile on his face, and he has looked fitter," said Johnson, who also indicated that centre-forward Danny Wright should soon return to full training after a foot injury.
"We would much prefer to play the lads coming back from injury in a couple of reserve games, but we can't do that, so we need to bring them in immediately to give them game-time."
Tom Lapslie, Jake Andrews, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Asa Hall have all returned that way in recent weeks.
Three defeats in eight days have sounded alarm bells among Gulls fans. Seventeenth place, four points above the relegation line, is certainly the territory where substance counts far more than style.
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"It will turn, and we have got to hope it turns sooner than later," says Johnson.
"We have got to get away from those seven or so clubs at the bottom, and I think we've got games in us to do that.
"We might change our shape sometimes, but the philosophy doesn't change. Work-rate, desire and commitment comes first.
"You've got to find that 'warrior' in everyone."
Brian Stock's Terras have won only twice in nine home games and, like United, they go into this match on a run of three successive losses.
They have several 'regulars' from the last couple of years - former United forward Josh McQuoid, Sam Shields, Conor Murray, Bradley Ash, Brandon Goodship - and Stock has just loaned in defender Leon Davies, 22, from Cambridge United.
Good team spirit often serves them well, especially in front of their own fans, but since they have conceded eleven goals in those last three defeats, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Torquay have a real go at them from the first whistle.
Meanwhile, United have announced that they are backing the National League's NoHomeKit initiative, which will see them wearing an away strip against Yeovil Town at Plainmoor on Boxing Day to draw attention to homelessness issues across the UK.