Striker 'important part' of Gulls' drive for promotion

Billy Waters of Torquay United drives forwards during the FA Trophy First Round match between Chesha

Billy Waters of Torquay United - Credit: Micah Crook/PPAUK

Striker Billy Waters remains an important part of Torquay United’s drive to win promotion back to the Football League, says manager Gary Johnson.

The Gulls’ boss is expected to strengthen his squad this week, now that the January transfer ‘window’ has opened, especially with leading scorer Danny Wright and summer signing Andrew Nelson both expected to be out injured for the foreseeable future.

Former Crewe, Cheltenham and Northampton Town forward Waters, 26, whose 16 goals helped Cheltenham to the NL title under Johnson in 2016, is on a month-by-month deal and seven of his eight appearances so far have been off the subs’ bench.

He scored twice that way to beat Wealdstone away 2-1 in November.

“Billy is doing OK,” said Johnson. “He hadn’t played since March when came to us. Although he’d kept himself fit, he’s almost needed another pre-season.

“He’s an experienced striker with a good record, and he needs to keep training hard, which he is doing, and play games. We both know that we won’t let the other down.

“We’ll talk about the future when we are ready to talk, and we are comfortable with that.”

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Nelson, plagued by a knee injury since his arrival from Dundee, has already undergone successful surgery, while eight-goal Wright is poised for a hamstring operation of his own.

Right-back Ben Wynter and midfielder Armani Little also have hamstring problems, but they are both expected back in training within the next fortnight.

Johnson believes that tight finances everywhere and worries about restrictions on movement under the new Covid ‘lockdown’ will depress the New Year transfer market.

“It’s not stopped us looking and asking,” said Johnson. “With the injuries in the camp at the moment, I would still like one or two more in the squad.”

United are in a ten-day break after their 2-1 defeat at Yeovil Town on Saturday, when the Glovers, routed 6-1 at Plainmoor on Boxing Day, overcame Aaron Nemane’s 46th minute opener to score twice in the last three minutes.

Torquay still lead the table by 11 points and resume their programme at home to Solihull Moors next Tuesday night.