Torquay United looking ahead, not back

Torbay Weekly

Two solid National League results since that FA Cup embarrassment at the hands of Havant & Waterlooville, plus a hard-working fortnight's training, take Torquay United into Saturday's home game against bottom club Dover Athletic (3pm).

The Gulls, who will welcome 1,000 NHS and care sector workers to Plainmoor's second Community Day, have beaten King's Lynn Town 2-0 and come from behind to draw at Wrexham 1-1, and manager Gary Johnson says: "We are now into the realm of looking ahead rather than back."

United stand ten points off the Play-Offs ahead of a spell against Dover, Barnet, one-from-bottom Aldershot Town, FC Halifax Town at home and Weymouth away.

"Any time, even this early in the season, a run of wins will put you in a stronger position obviously, but that's what we've got to do very quickly," stressed Johnson.

"We've got to try and be up there by Christmas.

"We've had three wins on the trot at home, and it would be great to keep that going."

United, who released winger Alex Addai this week, will be without on-loan Queen's Park Rangers striker Sinclair Armstrong, who is on international duty with the Eire Under-19 squad.

Attacking left-back Dan Martin completes a three-match suspension, while this match may come a weekend too soon for injured duo Asa Hall and Danny Wright, although both are firmly on the comeback trail.

Everyone else is available.

Saturday will be the first chance for Plainmoor fans to see new signing Byron Moore in action.

The former Crewe, Port Vale, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle winger made an eye-catching debut off the subs' bench at Wrexham a fortnight ago.

No one should have benefitted from the last two weeks more than Moore, who hadn't kicked a ball in anger since the end of last season.

"Whether he's 90-minute match-fit, we'll see," said Johnson, "but he looked like his fitness was coming back in a practice match this week."

Saddled with a 12-point deduction, and a £40,000 fine for that matter, for their failure to fulfil fixtures last season, part-timers Dover are without a win in 13 games, although they did put the wind up Stockport County a bit last weekend before the Hatters ran out 5-2 winners in the last half-hour at The Crabble Ground.

Having recovered from illness, their most experienced striker Ricky Miller is now out with a calf injury, but manager Andy Hessenthaler refuses to allow his squad to feel sorry for themselves and Plainmoor with a decent crowd in is the sort of stage that can always inspire a struggling side at this level.

In a busy weekend all round, United's Under-18 team plays Yeovil Town away in the SW Counties Youth League on Saturday (10.30am).

On Sunday, United Women travel to Cornwall to meet St Austell Ladies in the Women's FA Cup (1pm).