Gulls lose loan trio

Goal celebrations for Sinclair Armstrong of Torquay United during the National League match between

Goal celebrations for Sinclair Armstrong of Torquay United during the National League match between Torquay United and Stockport County at Plainmoor Torquay, Devon on Saturday 11th December 2021 - PHOTO: Dave Crawford/PPAUK - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Manager Gary Johnson has confirmed that Torquay United's current loan signings Sinclair Armstrong, Jack Sparkes and Harry Perritt will all be returning to their parent clubs this week, but he has assured Gulls fans that he did not mean to sound 'down' in his interview after the 2-1 win at his former club Yeovil Town at the weekend. 

Striker Armstrong, 18, is going back to Queen's Park Rangers, Exeter City need midfielder Sparkes back because their own squad has been hit by injuries and Covid cases, and defender Perritt has returned to Accrington Stanley after a three-month stay at Plainmoor. 

Sparkes, who was ruled out of the Yeovil victory because of a Covid issue, is not due to rejoin the Grecians until next weekend, so he could be available for United's next game, at home to Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, but only if negative tests return in time allow him to play. 

"We did ask if we could keep Sinclair," revealed Johnson, "but QPR said that, although he had enjoyed his time with us and they said 'Thanks' for what we have done with him, they wanted to stick with the original plan and have him back working with them. 

"We're keen to keep the good relationship we have with QPR, and who knows what might happen in the future? 

"Exeter wanted Jack back last week. That wasn't allowed with the loan deal we had, and we couldn't have sent him back either, but I understand their predicament. 

"Harry didn't end up playing quite as many games as he had hoped. We've also had Ali Omar as cover at centre-back, and we've been winning more games than we've lost recently, but we enjoyed having him with us. 

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"We're grateful to all those clubs. 

"Unfortunately, we're losing players there, and we're having to work very hard to get others in. 

"That's not easy with clubs worried about their own numbers because of the new Covid variant, and you can always make big mistakes in January anyway." 

Johnson then stressed: "If people construed that interview after the Yeovil win as negative, all I can say is 'Absolutely not'. 

"Yes, we've had to overcome a lot of problems, and everyone has been working doubly hard. 

"There's only so much you can do in a 24-hour day. 

"But I was delighted with Sunday's win, I wasn't down at all, really, and I would ask everyone to look at the interview again in a positive mindset."