Defensive duties at Torquay United

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United ahead of the Emirates FA Cup 4th Round Qualifying match betw

Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United ahead of the Emirates FA Cup 4th Round Qualifying match between Havant & Waterlooville and Torquay United at the Draper Tools Community Stadium, Havant, Hampshire on Wednesday 20th October 2021 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK. - Credit: James Fearn/PPAUK

American Football fans like to say that 'offense' wins games but 'defense' wins championships, but what is certain is that you can't win anything if you're conceding goals like Torquay United are at the moment. 

Wednesday's 4-2 FA Cup replay defeat at Havant & Waterlooville took the Gulls' goals-against tally to 28 in 13 games, and you can bet that manager Gary Johnson is thinking long and hard about the option of throwing new loanee Harry Perritt straight into the fray against King's Lynn Town at Plainmoor on Saturday (3pm). 

The 20-year-old Accrington Stanley defender has already played two League One and two cup matches this season, and Johnson would not have signed him, or strapping Queen's Park Rangers striker Sinclair Armstrong, 18, to warm the bench for too long, if at all. 

The fact that neither of their clubs wanted the pair cup-tied has to be a recommendation in itself, and injuries to centre-back Ali Omar, who limped off midway through the second half at Havant, and centre-forward Danny Wright leave slots which need to be filled. 

Speculation, mostly around social media, of 'pressure' on Johnson can be largely ignored. 

The Plainmoor hierarchy's faith in the man who has transformed the club's fortunes over the last three years remains solid. 

And, while it never pays to look back too much, the fact is that the ramifications of last season's Play-Off Final defeat, the lateness of that match (June 20) and the shortness of the close-season have all conspired against United. 

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United's best teams are nearly always built rather than bought. 

That's not an exact science or a straightforward one, and the more experience you can bring to bear on the job, the better. 

At times like this, the Plainmoor faithful have a history of rallying to the cause, and the atmosphere this weekend is sure to be helped by 'Community Day' with more than a thousand free tickets being made available around the bay. 

Johnson said: "Our supporters know when our teams need their support, and they always respond." 

King's Lynn, who beat Peterborough Sports 2-1 to earn a First Round Cup visit from Walsall, usually build seasons around their home form at The Walks, but their only two league wins so far have come away, at Yeovil and Maidenhead. 

They shifted most of their higher earners off the wage bill last season and manager Ian Culverhouse is going with a younger squad this time, including loan signings like defender Luis Fernandez (Stevenage) and midfielders Brett McGavin (Ipswich) and Joe Rowley (Chesterfield). 

In goal is veteran ex-Exeter, Crawley and Portsmouth goalie Paul Jones, 35, and a key man in central defence is Kyle Callan-McFadden. 

Up front is Swiss-born Gold Omotayo, formerly with Yeovil and Wrexham. 

Leaders Grimsby are at home to Yeovil, but many neutrals will keep an eye on events at Meadow Lane where big-spending duo Notts County and Stockport County meet.