PRE-MATCH TALKING POINTS – Dover AFC (a) by Dom Roman

TALKING POINTS

Dom_Roman

Dom Roman – @DomRoman

“Tom helps set the tone for the rest of team and will be a key man this weekend”

This Torquay United team won’t go away will they? It’s been a mix of results since Xmas, and after the Solihull defeat any hopes of the play-offs appeared to be heading over the NL sunset. But a few days on and with Wrexham taken down a notch or two, it felt like we were back in it. I’m all for this optimism and the season continuing to have spice, so onwards to Kent we go – here’s talking points for Dover AFC (a):

BECOMING THE FAVOURITES

One week on and this game has a different feel to Hollywood (h), with the favourites tag now hanging around the Gulls’ necks and the expectation to take 3 points back home to the bay against a team on -5 points (even we’ve never had that bad a season). Managing the expectation of victory has not suited United over the years, but this season we have generally done okay against teams in the lower reaches and Gary Johnson has been quick to warn his players against complacency this week. Approach the game with the same intensity as Wrexham, add more attacking intent and the Gulls should be fine. On the flip side a drop off in any area and even a team like dreadful Dover can come and bite you. Keep your foot on the accelerator lads.

THE OPPOSITION

Dover’s season finished pretty much before it even started, the points deduction nailing them on for relegation and meaning boss Andy Hessenthaler could only cobble together a modest squad of bits and bobs for the campaign that will ultimately lead to the National League South. Credit to Hessenthaler, he’s stuck at it and in recent fixtures the side have become more competitive, with a very creditable win at home to Eastleigh becoming their first 3 pointer of the season. They set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with two holding midfielders and will try to make things as difficult as possible for United, just as they did for Stockport last week. An early goal would be perfect against a team as limited as them, but if that doesn’t arrive patience could be key.

Wrexham Feb 22

ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!

The novel no striker (3-5-2-0?!) formation that worked well at Plainmoor, quickly goes out the window at the Crabble. It sounds like Danny Wright could well be back, which is a huge boost heading into the last 18 games and whether Wrighty makes it or not there’s a fair chance that Gary Johnson will revert back to a 4-3-3 formation to get at Dover. The bad news is that Armani Little may well miss out with his ankle injury, but with the likes of Duke-McKenna, Wearne and CLE around there should be enough energy to support the striker and make things happen in the final third. One thing that the gaffer will want replicated is the pressure on the ball we produced in the 1st half last Saturday, hurry them into mistakes and make hay from there.

TOM LAPSLIE

Tom Lapslie was absolutely raring to go last Saturday wasn’t he! After a few weeks off you could see it right from kick off, dashing around in his usual unique style to hurry and harry the Wrexham players and also making excellent passes as well to get the Gulls rolling upfield. Add to that some banter in the second half to please the Pop, and you had a man on fire. The trouble with Tom is keeping him fit. Already out for three spells this season, the midfielder’s busy busy all-action style does lead to injuries and the physio is generally called at least once a game to attend to him. Tom helps set the tone for the rest of team and will be a key man this weekend, so we could do with better luck with his fitness for the rest of the season.

THE GAFFER

Last Saturday was a reminder of just how lucky we are to have Gary Johnson and that he is still one of the finest managers around. The play-offs remain an outside bet but he’ll pull out all the stops to get us as close as possible. Fielding no strikers appeared silly against Wrexham, but the last laugh was with Gary Johnson and the Yellow Army. He’s finally got a team he can count on to compete and carry out his plans this season, that may still not be enough to make the Top 7, but with a strong team spirit we can ruffle plenty of feathers and finish with a flourish. Plenty of more fun hopefully still to come.

COYY – Dom

Wrexham Feb 22“They have had two one-goal defeats in the last three weeks and a win – so they are getting a bit more solid and that’s what their manager is doing for them” – GARY JOHNSON

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I simply live and breathe Football and have supported Torquay United since 1989. I am a season ticket holder on Bristows and a Trust member. I set up TorquayTalk in 2017 to give true supporters a voice and honest opinions on their club.

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