Crucial weekend for Torquay United
- Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK
While at least two rivals have gambled big on winning the lucrative 'pot' of promotion to the EFL, National League leaders Torquay United will rely on their mostly young squad, still injury-hit as it is, over the last six games of the regular season.
Stockport County (4th) and Chesterfield (6th) - the Gulls travel to both of them soon - have lashed out on strikers who they hope will push them over the line.
County recently signed Paddy Madden from League One Fleetwood Town and, on last Thursday's final 'deadline day', Chesterfield added Danny Rowe from Bradford City to their squad.
Eyebrows have understandably been raised across a division which has seen many clubs 'furlough' senior players to cut costs during the Covid pandemic.
There have been some startling four-figure weekly sums speculated about Madden's wages at Edgeley Park.
And when Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor was asked why he did not move for his old AFC Fylde star Rowe, Challinor replied that the player would have been on 'double what we are paying any other player in our squad'.
By contrast, United manager Gary Johnson, who saw versatile young defender Joe Lewis limp off just before half-time against Aldershot Town on Tuesday, says: "The window is shut now, so we go with the players we've got to the end of the season."
- 1 Gary Johnson reaction to Tiverton win
- 2 Tiverton Town 1 Torquay United 3
- 3 The little door behind the main stand
- 4 Asian hornet pays a visit to Devon Hills
- 5 Walk down to secluded cove is rich with wildlife and flowers
- 6 £1,800 for four good causes as Foster’s Fund pays out
- 7 Torquay host fourth coastal rowing regatta of league
- 8 Gary's respect for Martyn Rogers
- 9 £10m underspend will 'help prepare council for summer'
- 10 Field of 625 to tackle Totnes 10k alongside River Dart
Striker Josh Umerah is back from a one-match suspension, and Johnson also hopes to have on-loan Sunderland forward Benji Kimpioka and midfielder Armani Little available after injury to face Eastleigh (7th) at Plainmoor on Saturday.
Johnson is keeping his fingers crossed that winger Ben Whitfield (knee) and defender Kyle Cameron (hamstring) may recover in time to join the fray over the next ten days.
If there's one thing that Torquay are not short on, it's team spirit and determination - just ask Notts County (2-2) and Aldershot (2-1)!
They will need all of it against 'bogey' side Eastleigh and Chesterfield.
The Spitfires under Ben Strevens - they've won eight and drawn one of the last nine games against Torquay - have recovered from a lean spell to win three on the trot, against Sutton and Notts County twice.
They also hope to have nine-goal Ben House back after concussion to join veteran targetman Tyrone Barnett and ex-King's Lynn marksman Adam Marriott up front.
Meanwhile Chesterfield, who needed a Supporters Trust takeover to rescue them not long ago, have benefitted from the appointment of former Gloucester City manager James Rowe last November.
The signing of Danny Rowe (no relation), who scored most of his 237 goals during a record-breaking six years at Fylde, is a statement in itself.
And it's slightly ironic that Gulls striker Scott Boden, who's on loan at Plainmoor from Chesterfield, is not allowed to play against his parent club.
These 'double' weekends have the potential to shake things up.
Hartlepool (3rd) play Chesterfield at Victoria Park in one of several important fixtures on Saturday.
Gulls fans will be rooting for FC Halifax Town (5th) to beat in-form Stockport at The Shay, not least because the Hatters are at home to struggling Wealdstone on Monday.
Second-placed Sutton United entertain Aldershot on Saturday before their trip to Notts County on Tuesday teatime - it's been put back a day for live BT Sport coverage.