Gulls going for 'double' after transfer signings

Armani Little of Torquay United has a shot during the FA Trophy Second Round match between Boreham W

Armani Little has a shot during the FA Trophy second round match between Boreham Wood and Torquay United at Meadow Park on Tuesday - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Manager Gary Johnson is aiming Torquay United at a National League and FA Trophy ‘double’ this season, and he says recent transfer signings have given the Gulls the strength to do it.

United, who take an eight-point lead into Saturday’s key NL game at Notts County (seventh), stormed into the last-16 of the Trophy with a 4-0 away hammering of divisional rivals Boreham Wood on Tuesday night.

Armani Little of Torquay United chases down the ball under pressure from David Stephens of Boreham W

Armani Little chases down the ball under pressure from David Stephens of Boreham Wood during the FA Trophy second round match between Boreham Wood and Torquay United on Tuesday - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Of late Johnson has extended the loans of defender Sam Sherring (AFC Bournemouth) and midfielder Adam Randell (Plymouth Argyle) and added Crystal Palace striker Rob Street and this week highly-rated Hull City midfielder Max Sheaf to his already strong roster.

“We’re going to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday for the next few weeks, especially with us getting to the next round of the Trophy,” said Johnson.

“We know the next Trophy game is Southport (NL North) away (February 6), and I like playing teams who are not in our division.

“We’re getting to the later stages of the Trophy, and we are going to have enough players to play in both competitions and see it through.”

Johnson confirmed that, although Liam Davis, Andrew Nelson and Danny Wright are longer-term absentees, Armani Little made an encouraging return at Boreham and Ben Wynter (hamstring) should be back in the next fortnight.

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Johnson wants to be able to make changes without weakening the team, and there were clear signs of that at Meadow Park.

United held their own in a slightly scrappy first half, then turned on the style after the interval.

Allowing Wood’s attack few chances, they hardly looked back after skipper Asa Hall turned and hit a left-foot volley through a crowded goalmouth in the 51st minute – his seventh goal of the season.

Goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald made one important save from Kabby Tshimanga before United’s passing opened up the home defence three times in six closing minutes.

Sub Billy Waters (82), Randell (84) and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (88) – his sixth goal of the campaign – boosted United’s confidence for those important league games at Notts County and then home to Sutton United (third) next Tuesday night.