I don’t think I’ve ever been too disappointed at the cancellation of an FA Trophy game before. But this was different. In mid-January and entrenched in a rather dull and dreary Lockdown, the Boreham fixture had become a small light at the end of the working week tunnel. A chance to see new signing Rob Street strut his stuff and a chance for a first TUFC reappearance since that New Year’s s##t show at Huish Park. Even the fact we were playing Boreham Wood for the umpteenth time in recent memory did not deter me. My £10 was ready to be spent and 3-5pm Saturday reserved on the Roman sofa – ‘do not ‘disturb’.
So the announcement that expected adverse weather was moving the game to Tuesday night was an unwelcome kick in the balls. And an early 7pm kick off as well. These people clearly don’t have kids bedtime to think about! In the end the weather up there on Saturday seemed very playable, so the decision appeared hasty. Speculation on social media suggests the decision was Torquay’s, but a Saturday afternoon would have surely been preferable to a Tuesday night trip, a few days before we head back up north to Nottingham next weekend? Maybe both teams will come to the conclusion that they’d rather not play, with a good old fashioned coin toss between captains deciding the winner. I’d fancy Asa’s chances any day.
Anyway working week two of January has passed and the week was marginally better than the morose week one. It still didn’t offer much joy…but with the house all to myself at times I was at least able to roam free. The best seat being as close to the kettle and the fridge as possible! I also had the chance to chat to a couple of mates this week, with chatter soon moving onto Football in each one. I think it’s easy in these times to become unsociable and lose touch with friends – make the effort if you can, any banter is better than none at all. Even if the conversation is based on doom and gloom then it’s better out than in. Whatsapp and Social Media helps as well, but you can’t beat speaking to someone…anyone!
And let’s not forget the good news we’ve received this week, the loan extensions of those lovely lads Sam Sherring and Adam Randell. It seems like a long time ago when the two joined the club just prior the season start, and both fitted in perfectly. Gary Johnson had stated in pre-season that no loans would be required, but as some injuries mounted up I don’t think anyone was buying it. With a squad the size of Torquay’s some loans are inevitable, the hope is that they’ll be enhancements to the group and by the end of the Stockport game any doubts on that score were immediately erased.
Let’s talk Sam Sherring first. His partnership with Kyle Cameron clicked into gear like they’d been dovetailing for years. Centre back partnerships often have a mixture of calm, aggression and pace – the best one in recent times I’d say was Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at Man U. Rio being the calm and Vidic being the dominating presence. Sherring and Cam are not near that level, but the quiet authority and sound decision-making of Sherring combined wonderfully during early season with Kyle, who attacks every header like it’s his last and leads from the back.
Unfortunately that combination has been disrupted in (relatively) recent matches by the injury to Ben Wynter and the need for Sam to cover at right back. The Bournemouth man fitted into that position with minimum fuss and although lacking the attacking intent of Wynts, the defender has continued to do very well. Versatility like that is invaluable at a club like ours, where the budget limits numbers and injuries are bound to happen. It sounds like the Sherring/Cam partnership will be back in action before too long to spur on the Gulls promotion chasers, no offence to Fraser Kerr or Gary Warren but Wynts can’t come back in soon enough. A back four of Moxey/Cam/Sherring/Wynter is as good as anything in this league.
Onto Adam Randell and his season has been different to Sam Sherring’s in many ways. Whilst Sam has been pretty much consistently a 7/10, Adam has been a little up and down. With the midfield battle raging that’s not a great surprise, and Adam has struggled at times with the physical nature of certain teams. Not that the young lad is a shrinking violet, but more accurately a developing lad who will meet his match now and again. Away at Weymouth and Yeovil, the Plymouth youngster could not affect the game like we know he can, with the Glovers especially adept at spoiling things at Huish Park.
But those poor games can be forgotten because this lad is a proper talent. Give him time on the ball and Adam can switch play at the blink of eye, and also pick a neat ball into the attackers. He doesn’t shrink from the action and always wants to be involved, on good days or bad. Add to that a real competitive spirit that sees him rushing into tackles and closing down the opposition and you’ve got some prospect. We also saw his shooting ability early on at Bromley, and I’d like to see Adam take more pops when the space allows – he’s got it in his locker.
New deals at Plainmoor make sense for both, as they enjoy life at United under Gary Johnson and are gaining valuable experience of first team football. How many games we will see in the coming weeks is debatable mind, the mixture of COVID and winter weather is likely to put the kibosh on more fixtures as we grind on. Getting the points on the board was always important this season, and continuing to pick up points where we can is key. Having weeks off is good for injured players, but the lack of action won’t necessarily help us. Sharpness soon seeps away and it’s not always easy to pick up where you left off. With the big Notts County and Sutton games scheduled soon, Gary Johnson will be desperate to whip us into the best shape as possible.
Speaking of injuries, it was confirmed this week that Danny Wright would undergo an operation and the veteran will do well to make it back this season. In the end perhaps the number of games and minutes caught up with the striker, whose work rate as a lone man upfront was there for all to see – or maybe it was just the Torquay injury curse striking again. Over to you Rob Street. The highlights look promising from the Crystal Palace U23s, but we’ll know more once he’s taken his first kicks from a large National League centre half!
The news on Liam Davis this week was even less promising. The Torbay Weekly reported that Liam was still a long-term absentee and you have to wonder whether we’ll see the brilliant left back in a yellow shirt again. It’s now been well over a year since Davis left the field at Maidstone and he has been missed. The left back is now 34 and must be hugely frustrated at his ongoing absence. After playing a big part in our rejuvenation under GJ, it’ll be a real shame if the classy LD can’t join in the promotion push.
Whatever the situation I just hope we get games! With new tales to tell and talking points to pour over… and the Gulls still flying at the top of course. Keep safe everyone.
WARNING this is a sales paragraph! The new TT Shop is bubbling along nicely, with Luke Hunter doing a lovely job with the items on offer. The latest item is a heritage framed picture that celebrates everything and everyone associated with Torquay United over the years. Check it out on the site now (link below), the design has been expertly put together and will look great on your wall, trust me.