Bank Holiday showdown at Torquay United

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson has a look at the Chesterfield pitch at The Proact Stadium

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson has a look at the Chesterfield pitch before the National League Match between Chesterfield and Torquay United at The Proact Stadium - Credit: Steve Bond/Pinnacle

Torquay United have been trying, and failing, to win a league game at Chesterfield for exactly 50 years, so Monday (3pm), with so much at stake in the National League promotion race, would be a damn good time to do it at last. 

Five draws and 16 defeats is the Gulls' record at the old Saltergate and Proact grounds, although they have actually won a match in north Derbyshire - Martin Ling's side triumphed 3-1 in the FA Cup there in 2011. 

Having laid an Eastleigh 'bogey' to rest (3-1) on Saturday, Gary Johnson's men will also try to equal the club's away-wins record (12). 

Even a point will keep them on top of the table until at least Tuesday teatime when Sutton (2nd) travel to Notts County. 

But, with Hartlepool (3rd) and Stockport County (4th) hot on their heels, an eighth win in nine games would strike another important blow. 

Because of their game in hand, Johnson says: "Sutton are still in the driving seat, but we have given ourselves a great chance."  

Much as they love their manager, many Torquay fans are actually hoping that the club's profitable April does NOT win the Manager of the Month award for Johnson, especially as Chesterfield boss James Rowe has just provided fresh evidence of the old MoM 'curse'. 

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Rowe, lured from Gloucester City last November, had led the Spireites from the bottom half of the table into Play-Off contention until, following a point-laden run which earned him the March award, they have suddenly enjoyed only one win in six. 

Johnson and Stockport's Simon Rusk are the two men in contention for the April prize… 

Rowe was publicly unimpressed by the fact that a fixture postponement (Weymouth) had allowed Hartlepool to enjoy a good break before their 3-1 win over Chesterfield on Saturday, when he said his side was feeling the effects of five games in 14 days. 

Make that six in 16 with Monday's match against the Gulls. 

Rowe recently signed former AFC Fylde, Oldham and Bradford City marksman Danny Rowe in an effort to clinch a Play-Off place. 

Rowe is not the only addition to their squad - the fan-owned club has been throwing some cash at the job of late, with former Torquay centre-back Frazer Kerr among their newer faces. 

United's schedule has been draining enough, but they defied that with some of the confident football they played against Aldershot (2-1) and Eastleigh last week. 

Scott Boden, who scored the winner for Chesterfield (1-0) against the Gulls at the Proact last season, is on loan from them now, so he cannot play against his parent club. 

That brings fit-again Benji Kimpioka and Josh Umerah into the equation to play alongside the tireless Billy Waters up front. 

Sunderland loanee Kimpioka, who looked lively during a 20-minute cameo appearance against Eastleigh, appears to be just favourite for promotion to the starting XI. 

There didn't appear to be any new casualties from Saturday's win, when Johnson did not involve left winger Lucas Tomlinson, his recent loan signing from Bristol Rovers. 

But the Gulls' boss is only too aware that the odd set of fresh legs can prove valuable at this stage of the season.  There are only five games left after this one. 

As always, results elsewhere are of huge importance. 

Sutton's Tuesday game at Notts (5pm) is live on BT Sport, but on Monday Hartlepool travel to Bromley (9th), Stockport entertain Wealdstone, FC Halifax Town (5th) are away to Yeovil Town and back-in-form Wrexham (6th) travel to Maidenhead.