Torquay United flag - James Boardman / Alamy Stock Photo

Strikers Corie Andrews and Aaron Jarvis set for Torquay United debut

Dave Thomas

New strikers Corie Andrews and Aaron Jarvis are poised to make their first appearances of pre-season when Torquay United take on League Two Newport County in Saturday's friendly at Plainmoor (3pm).

Andrews, signed this week from AFC Wimbledon, and ex-Luton and Scunthorpe forward Jarvis are among the new arrivals who have been held back as the Gulls beat Buckland Athletic (1-0) and Exmouth Town (2-0) away from home so far.

But manager Gary Johnson hinted that both players, and possibly former Dover City midfielder Ryan Hanson as well, will feature for the first time against the Ambers.

Johnson has involved several of United's Academy players and young pros up to now, but that may be about to change as he uses games against Newport, Plymouth Argyle (Tues) and Exeter City next Saturday (July 23) to nail down the side that will kick off the National League season at home to Oldham Athletic (Aug 6).

"I've had good starts to pre-season and bad starts, and it never coincides with good or bad at the start of the season proper," said Johnson, who may well strengthen his squad further this weekend.

"We've involved a lot of new players and trialists so far, and let our younger lads know that we've not forgotten them.

"We've learned a lot, and we're very confident that, by the time we get to the Oldham game, the squad will be ready."

One thing's for sure - underfoot conditions are about to improve.

The current heatwave has made life difficult for groundsmen everywhere and Exmouth manager Kevin Hill, the former Gulls favourite, readily admitted this midweek that the Southern Road pitch, deliberately left long to stop it burning up, is suffering because Town, just promoted to the Southern League, don't yet have the sort of watering system which Torquay possesses.

Plainmoor groundsman Julian Gouldthorpe has ripped up and reseeded his surface this summer, and he's happy with the outcome - a pitch which should help both sides play at something like the pace they'll hope to hit when the serious stuff starts.