Proactive plans in the transfer market

Gary Johnson before the match between Torquay United and Barnet at Plainmoor on Saturday

Gary Johnson before the match between Torquay United and Barnet at Plainmoor on Saturday - Credit: Dave Crawford/PPAUK

Torquay United are hoping to be more proactive in the transfer market this season, after their attempts to react to a spate of injuries didn't always pay off last year. 

Four games into the 2021-2022 campaign, the Gulls have yet to make a loan signing, although manager Gary Johnson has been chasing another defender for some time. 

But United's manager, who will mark three years in charge at Plainmoor on Monday, said: "Last year we brought people in when we needed them. 

"We brought in lads who were unproven a bit, and a couple of them didn't quite work out. 

"Then, all of a sudden, your pool of players is bigger as injuries clear up and the lads you've brought in aren't able to get a game. 

"We're hoping to find what we need this time and then bring them in to compete for a place and be ready to slip into our system if selected." 

Although eve-of-season loan signings like Adam Randell (Plymouth) and Sam Sherring (AFC Bournemouth) proved to be big hits in 2020-2021, young additions such as Rob Street (Crystal Palace) and Max Sheaf (Hull City) did not have the same impact when a crippling run of injuries hit United from Christmas onwards. 

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Johnson has three senior centre-backs on his roster, but he is keen for the youngest, homegrown Louie Slough, to get regular game-time out on loan soon, as well as first-year pro midfielder Alex Moyse. 

He has Joe Lewis and summer signing Ali Omar playing in the middle of defence at the moment, but opted to switch Dean Moxey in from left-back when Omar served a one-match suspension recently. 

Meanwhile, striker Olaf Koszela has already scored six goals on loan at Southern League Tiverton Town. 

"Olaf is doing very well at that level. He needed to get those games and those goals, but he still trains with us every day and it's all making a better player of him," said Johnson. 

"We would like to get Slough and Moyse out next, but it's finding the right team at the right level. 

"Louie needs a 'Conference' South team at the moment."