Gary Johnson wary of Gulls being odds-on favourites

Gary Johnson. Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK

Gary Johnson. Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK - Credit: James Fearn/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson is wary of the Gulls being odds-on favourites, for the first time this season, to beat Dover Athletic at Plainmoor today (3pm).

Fifth-placed United have three wins from their first four National League matches, while Dover have conceded 12 goals in their last three games.

But the Whites did upset Notts County with a last-minute winner (1-0) against Notts County at the Crabble on Day One, and Johnson says: “Our games so far have been close, and I think there will be a lot of games like that.

“Andy Hessenthaler (Dover manager) will have got into his players, and he can do that.

“You are never 100 per cent happy, unless you win 5-0 every week.

“But we have good players and also good brains in our team now.”

While United were forcing that third stoppage-time winner against Chesterfield (2-1) on Tuesday night, Dover were soaking up a 5-0 hammering at home to Aldershot Town, following defeats at Stockport (0-3) and Bromley (1-4).

Most Read

Johnson took off left-back Dean Moxey in the closing stages in midweek, as it was his debut for the club after a three-match suspension, but the former Exeter City stalwart is expected to start again.

Injured players are coming back on an almost weekly basis, and Johnson has made no secret of his intention to rotate or ‘game manage’ his growing and increasingly competitive squad.

No National League chairman sounded the financial alarm-bells through the summer as loudly as Dover chairman Jim Parmenter, and the belt appears to have been duly tightened for Hessenthaler.

Johnson, whose side have been drawn away to Southern League side Sholing from Southampton in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round on October 24, will know all about at least two of the Athletic side.

Ex-Charlton, AFC Wimbledon and Newport striker Ade Azeez finished last season on loan at Plainmoor and midfielder Jack Munns was part of his NL title squad at Cheltenham Town in 2016.