Gary Johnson: 'No reason why we can't reach play-offs'

Final whistle celebrations Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United

Final whistle celebrations for Gary Johnson - a run of 13 points from 18 has hauled Torquay United into the top half of the table. Picture: Phil Mingo/PPAUK - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Torquay United manager Gary Johnson wants the Gulls to be this season's National League play-off 'gate-crashers' after a run of 13 points from 18 hauled them into the top half of the table.

United may lose a little ground over the next fortnight, because they are out of the FA Trophy and don't play again until January 22 when they meet Altrincham, but Johnson insists: ""Somebody always comes out of the pack to get into the play-offs, and there's no reason why it can't be us.

"Two points per game is always the aim if you want to win promotion, and we've done that over the last six games, so we've got to keep that sort of form going.

"The top teams in the form-table have taken 14 from six, and we're on 13.

"We're hanging on in there, we've got a lot of teams ahead of us, but it's never over until it's over.

"I think we're playing well enough to do it, and I'm happy with the squad we've got, especially as we now have a chance to get all the knocks and bruises out of their bodies and have everyone fully fit again."

Despite losing Sinclair Armstrong, who was on QPR's bench in their FA Cup win over Rotherham at the weekend, Jack Sparkes (Exeter) and Harry Perritt (Accrington Stanley), United have brought in another young loanee, Sunderland attacking midfielder Stephen Wearne.

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The Gulls are still trying to strengthen their squad, with Johnson reporting: "We get inundated with players and their agents at this time of year, but the important decisions are the 'no's' as much as the 'yes's.

"Some of the best deals may be made nearer the end of the season rather than in January." 

Wearne made a lively debut in the 2-2 home draw with Dagenham and Redbridge at the weekend, when Asa Hall and Danny Wright scored.

Armani Little and Tom Lapslie (injured) and Chiori Johnson and Joe Felix (Covid isolation) were all sidelined, but Louie Slough and Gabby Rogers are now back from loans at Bideford and Truro City respectively.

Striker Olaf Koszela has also swapped one loan at Tiverton Town for another at Dorchester Town, while midfielder Alex Moyse has made a similar switch to Bideford.