Torquay United promotion showdown at Wrexham

Gary Johnson Manager of Torquay United thanks the fans after the National League match between Torqu

Gary Johnson Manager of Torquay United thanks the fans after the National League match between Torquay United and Wrexham at Plainmoor Torquay, Devon on Saturday 5th Dec 2020 - PHOTO: Phil Mingo/PPAUK - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

With only 12 games to go, the margins for error are starting to tighten at the top of the National League, and Torquay United (3rd) take on Wrexham (7th) at the Racecourse Ground on Monday (3pm) in a match which has that 'six-pointer' tag on it. 

Beating bottom-half teams like King's Lynn, Solihull Moors and Woking at Plainmoor may have been essential, but Gary Johnson's Gulls must also take points off the teams around them if they are not to be overtaken during the promotion run-in. 

They travel to leaders Sutton next Tuesday night and also still have to play Stockport (4th) away, Notts County (5th) at home and Chesterfield (6th) away. 

But they will have to pull out all the stops at Wrexham before they start thinking about those tests. 

The big question is whether Johnson will start with Danny Wright, who marked his return to fitness after three months with the 83rd minute winner against Woking (1-0) on Good Friday and now faces the club which he helped to win the FA Trophy in 2013. 

United's veteran centre-forward looked remarkably spritely during 35 minutes off the bench, considering the length of his lay-off, but it is still a big call to start him so soon into his comeback. 

Johnson did hint after the Woking game that new loan striker Benji Mbunga Kimpioka deserved more service than he received on Friday and, with potentially more room to work away from home than he got against Woking's massed defence, the young Sunderland starlet is likely to be at least one of United's starting strikers. 

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When United beat Wrexham 3-1 at Plainmoor earlier in the season, the Red Dragons had neither their talismanic captain and centre-back Shaun Pearson nor Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who have now taken over the club. 

Pearson is also fit after foot surgery, but manager Dean Keates - he was Wright's team-mate eight years ago - has other problems. 

Leading scorer Kwame Thomas is out after a training injury, and so is fellow forward Jordan Ponticelli with a hamstring issue sustained in Friday's 1-0 defeat at Notts County. 

That was only their second loss in 15 games and, with former Gulls favourite Luke Young in fine form - he has scored seven times so far - they have become serious promotion contenders. 

Wrexham are also solid at home - only Maidenhead and Altrincham, both several months ago, have won at the Racecourse. 

It all adds up to a formidable task for Johnson's men…