Encouraging news from the Torquay United treatment room
- Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK
Centre-forward Danny Wright is pencilled in for a practice-match appearance next midweek, raising hopes that he may be back from injury for Torquay United's two-match Easter programme.
Former Exeter City defenders Dean Moxey and Gary Warren could also feature in the training-ground friendly which the Gulls have arranged against their old club.
The news confirms that United's injury-list, which has undoubtedly played its part in the side's slip from clear top of the National League at Christmas to third place now, is finally easing - and in time to help in a promotion push over the final two months of the season.
After Dagenham & Redbridge away on Saturday, United's Easter sees them at home to Woking on Good Friday and away to Wrexham on Monday.
With Dover Athletic taking no further part - the NL Board have still not announced how they propose to deal with that points situation - Torquay have 14 games left.
Wright, who had scored eight goals before he tore his hamstring in the 6-1 win over Yeovil Town at Plainmoor on Boxing Day, won't be available for the Dagenham trip.
But Johnson said: "Danny is close now, although he will need a couple of practice games to improve his sharpness, as will Dean and Gary.
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"It will be great to have them back. Someone like Danny is not going to be able to play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday for the next two months, but I keep saying how important it's going to be to manage the squad.
"Having people like Danny, Dean and Gary back, and others who are on the way, will help us to have fresher players available for every game."
United have no new injury worries from Tuesday's 2-0 win over Solihull Moors.
Dagenham may be in the bottom half of the table, mainly because they have scored only 28 goals in 29 games, but their 0-1 loss at home to Hartlepool on Tuesday was their first defeat for six games.
They are one of several sides with better away records than at home, including a 1-0 backs-to-the-wall win at Plainmoor just before Christmas.
"On paper, they've got a very good team, and they were one of the favourites at the start of the season," said Johnson.
"We've got to make sure, as usual, that we produce our best game on the day and see where it takes us."
The Daggers recently added pacy ex-Barnet winger Mauro Vilhete to an attack which already includes experienced targetman Paul McCallum and attacking midfielder Saidou Khan, who was in the Maidstone team which knocked Torquay out of the FA Cup (1-0) 18 months ago.
Meanwhile, two of Torquay United's promotion rivals, Notts County and Bromley, have surprisingly sacked their managers.
Notts (6th) have dismissed Neal Ardley, and the club's Danish owners have gone to Scandinavia for a replacement.
Leicester-born Ian Burchnall is in at Meadow Lane after building up a coaching reputation in Norway and Sweden, where he took over Ostersund FK when Graham Potter left (2019) for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Bromley have parted company with Neil Smith after five years - they are seventh in the table and their 3-1 defeat by leaders Sutton in midweek was their first loss in five games.
Burchnall's first game in charge of Notts will be an FA Trophy Semi-Final against Hornchurch on Saturday, but there are three key league games for Torquay fans to keep an eye on.
Sutton (1st) travel to Halifax (8th), Stockport (4th) entertain Hartlepool (2nd) and Wrexham (5th) meet Bromley (7th) at the Racecourse Ground.