Torquay United take on King's Lynn

Gary Johnson when he was appointed as the new manager of Torquay United in the National League South at

Gary Johnson when he was appointed as manager of Torquay United on September 13, 2018. - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

If any Torquay United fans were allowed to drop in to the Gulls' training-ground over recent days, they will have been cheered by the sight of players like Danny Wright and Dean Moxey running like they meant it.

It will still be a week or two before centre-forward Wright (hamstring) and left-back Moxey (hip) are fit enough to step back into United's injury-hit side, and certainly not in time to face King's Lynn Town at Plainmoor this Saturday (3pm).

But manager Gary Johnson says: "The good thing is that most of our injured lads are now on recovery programmes, instead of under full-time treatment.

"It's a matter of getting them fit again, and then pushing them on to match-fitness."

Johnson is trying to arrange a couple of 'reserve' friendlies over the next ten days to help with that process.

Those injuries - United were without eight senior players for Tuesday's 4-1 defeat at Maidenhead - have undoubtedly played a part in a run of two wins in eleven games which has dropped the Gulls from clear at the top to third place.

But needs must, and the current fit squad - no new injuries from midweek - need to stop the rot ASAP.  They have Lynn and Solihull Moors (Tues) at home to do it.

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"The players are as gutted as anybody," stressed Johnson.

"They are a group which, given a bit of positive support, will come back.  We as staff have got to do that, along with everybody else - wives, partners, families and supporters."

As leaders Sutton United prepare to face big-spending Stockport County at Gander Green Lane, United - they drew 0-0 at The Walks when they were still clear leaders - are seen as strong favourites to beat the two-from-bottom Linnets.

But Johnson insists: "They are not a soft touch." 

The 'voiding' of the NL North and South, with no promotion or relegation between them and the NL 'Premier', has hugely relieved the pressure on King's Lynn and all the teams at the bottom of the table.

At least the Linnets haven't thrown in the towel completely, like Dover Athletic, but to keep playing without significant income to the end of May, they have furloughed several of their senior players.

Manager Ian Culverhouse has bolstered his squad with a raft of mostly young loan signings and, although Town haven't won for six games, recent draws against Notts County away (2-2) and home to Hartlepool (2-2) indicate that they're at least playing with a bit of ambition and freedom.

Goalkeeper Theo Richardson (Cleethorpes T), defender Jak Hickman (Bolton) and forwards Alfie Payne (Norwich), Jordan Davies (AFC Telford) and veteran Simeon Jackson (Chelmsford) have all joined this month.

The big game elsewhere is Sutton (1)-v-Stockport (5), but Hartlepool (2) also host Woking, Notts Co (7) meet Yeovil Town at Meadow Lane and Eastleigh (9) are home to FC Halifax Town (6).