Torquay United actively seeking new signings in race to win promotion

Torbay Weekly

Chairman Clarke Osborne is ready to back manager Gary Johnson if he wants to go into the transfer market again to keep Torquay United in the race to win promotion back to the Football League.

The Gulls' Bristol-based owner and his CEO George Edwards seldom go public about their plans or policies.

But, even as one of the most difficult financial seasons in the club's recent history heads towards its climax, it is understood Osborne will support the signing of more new players if Johnson needs them.

And United are actively pursuing new signings with 15 games to go.

Osborne has already pumped well over £2 million into the club, as part of a five-year plan to regain lucrative EFL status, re-establish a productive youth Academy and build a new stadium complex.

The new stadium is on hold for the time being, but if Johnson, who won the National League South title in 2019, can take United up again this season, a key part of Osborne's plan will be 18 months ahead of schedule.

Johnson has made a series of loan signings in the face of an injury-list which once stretched to a dozen senior players and, after a run of two wins in eleven games wiped out United's double-figure NL lead, his squad has stopped the rot with two successive home wins.

With the division now certain to run its course despite Covid-19 restrictions, the pressure is on to keep winning.

"You don't want to end up signing new people just before your own players get fit again, which several will be soon, but we are looking all the time," said Johnson.

"Clarke and George and Mel (finance director Mel Hayman) have never been less than 100 per cent supportive, and I'm not saying that just to keep my job.

"Everything I've wanted to do, they have backed, and I have no reason to think that's changed.

"Even things that didn't go quite as well as we'd hoped, they have understood why we did it.

"We're all of one thought and one aim, and that's a powerful feeling to have at any club."

Meanwhile, only six points from two home games would have done - after last week's 4-1 defeat at Maidenhead United - and Torquay United delivered with Tuesday's 2-0 victory over Solihull Moors at Plainmoor.

The Gulls followed up Saturday's 1-0 win over King's Lynn Town as goals by in-form Jake Andrews and fellow midfielder Adam Randell prompted manager Gary Johnson to say: "The lads were magnificent in the first half, and only Man City play like that for two halves.

"We defended really well as a team, and hopefully we can keep it going now."

There was a minute's silence before kick-off in memory of ex-Gulls coach Alan Slough, who died this week - see Page 8.

United are still six points behind leaders Sutton United ahead of a trip to Dagenham and Redbridge this Saturday.