Torquay United FA Trophy preview
- Credit: The FA/Sam Holden Agency/Tom Mur
A trip to FC Halifax Town or Southport is hardly the draw of their dreams, but Torquay United will have other very good reasons for wanting an upbeat performance in the FA Trophy Fourth Round at Boreham Wood on Tuesday night.
Gary Johnson’s Gulls, frustrated by Saturday’s postponement of the tie, haven’t played since that galling last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Yeovil Town on January 2.
The last thing the National League leaders will want is to head into important games at Notts County on Saturday and home to Sutton United next Tuesday on the back of a defeat, or worse, at Meadow Park.
And there is also a debut in the air, starting or off the bench, for new on-loan striker signing Rob Street from Crystal Palace.
“Normally you would be disappointed with an away draw like that, because the fans would have had to travel so far, but in current circumstances, that’s not in the equation anymore,” said Johnson.
“If, or when, that next (5th) round comes around, we’ll look forward to it, but we’ve got a bunch of very big games coming up anyway.”
United have completed a loan move for Hull City’s 20-year-old attacking midfielder Max Sheaf, but the former Cheltenham Town loanee will not be involved as he wasn’t signed before the original date of the tie.
Despite this, Johnson is pretty well served in midfield at the moment, especially with Adam Randell extending his loan from Plymouth Argyle to the end of the season.
Torquay fans will be pleased to hear that Armani Little, recovered from his latest hamstring problem, may well force his way onto the subs’ bench in north London.
Johnson is clearly determined that his squad is as ‘deep ‘ as possible for the months ahead, as he has also agreed to keep AFC Bournemouth defender Sam Sherring on loan for the rest of the campaign.
Like Randell, Sherring has more than played his part in United’s success so far. One forward whom they won’t have to face is the pacy Sorba Thomas – Wood, who drew 1-1 at Plainmoor earlier this season, have sold him to Huddersfield Town for a club record fee, reported to be around £120,000.
Manager Luke Garrard has been trying to bolster his attacking roster, which already includes veteran centre-forward Matt Rhead and consistent goalscorer Kabby Tshimanga, in the wake of that deal.