Youth coach Chris Todd directing Academy from home

Head of Torquay United youth, Chris Todd during pre season match between Torquay United and Hemel He

Head of Torquay United youth, Chris Todd - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

No one at Torquay United is feeling the impact of the latest Covid-19 lockdown more than youth coach Chris Todd, who is having to direct the Gulls’ Academy - including key first senior contract decisions - from home.

Former promotion-winning United centre-half Todd has described the ongoing uncertainty which successive lockdowns have imposed on the club’s various age-groups, especially the under-18s hoping to become professionals next season.

Todd, who fought back from leukaemia during his time as a player at Plainmoor, is also having to stay away from the club and training ground because of his own health reasons.

“It’s very frustrating for me, but also for everyone involved in our Academy,” said Swansea-born Todd, 39.

“I’ve been in remission for ten years, and my health is great, thank goodness, but I am still classed as ‘high risk’.

“I also work with the first team, but I can’t do that either right now.”

Four local teenagers – Olaf Koszela, Louie Slough, Jacob Evans and Owen Price – have graduated to pro deals over the last two years.

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Todd explained: “The Academy has been in and out of lockdown for months – our first day back after Christmas was the same evening that they announced the latest lockdown.

“It’s been very difficult for the youngsters, especially for the older age-groups.

“These months are always so important for the under-18s to potentially get a professional contract.

“Training day-in day-out is one thing, but you really develop and show what you can do in games, and they can’t do that either at the moment.

“We can’t do the same ‘bubbles’ as the first team players.

“The boys’ futures rely on us making decisions and, as things stand, we’ll have to do that a bit like the teachers in schools will have to do later this year instead of exams.

“It’s a world of challenges at the moment, but everyone is doing their best to help, and I’ve got some great staff around me.

“The safety of everyone is paramount, so the vaccines can’t come soon enough for us all to get back doing what we love.”