Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses all things Torquay United
Last season Gary Johnson and Aaron Downes toiled with tactics for many of the games, juggling formations and players in the hope of finding a winning formula that could secure us a coveted place in the top 7th. In the end that formula was unearthed and points were gathered, but to all our frustrations it was just too late. With more thinking time, suitable signings identified patiently rather than hastily and a squad given time to breathe, this season could and should be different. I look at the formation options available this time around, assuming Gary sticks to a 3 at the back:
The Exeter game saw a 3-5-2 formation utilised, with a 3 of Donnellan, Hanson and McGavin in midfield and Goodwin and Andrews paired together upfront. Can Goodwin and Andrews forge a partnership together? Perhaps, but the safe bets are on the bigger and more physical Aaron Jarvis being used as the pivotal man up top, with one of Goodwin or Andrews alongside him. A partnership at Plainmoor hasn’t worked since Janneh and Reidy back in the National League South, so whether this can buck the trend (not only at Torquay but in football in general) is debatable. In midfield, I think it will be hard to ignore the drive and energy of Tom Lapslie, just to increase our tempo and give us more bite. If Hanson and Lapslie can control the midfield, then Brett McGavin will hope to roam forward as much as possible in support of the strikers.
A slight variation here moving from a 3-5-2 to a more midfield heavy 3-5-1-1 formation. The basics remain the same, including Dan Martin (when fit) and Dylan Crowe roving as wing backs, which certainly suits their skillsets, and Ryan Hanson doing his best Asa Hall impression and sweeping up around midfield, whilst Lapslie and McGavin do their thing elsewhere. Aaron Jarvis remains upfront, but for this example I have included Kieron Evans behind the ex-Scunthorpe big man. Kieron is an interesting one, a player who will definitely add something to what we do, but a player who is currently looking for his best position. Him and McGavin are the only two obvious candidates to play behind Jarvis, and link up the midfield to the striker – a difficult role that requires composure, quick thinking and plenty of CLE-type energy. Get it right though and the rewards are there for the taking.
One thing we will need to do is get players in and around Aaron Jarvis. When Jarvis retains possession he should have options, left and right if possible, otherwise the ball will be coming back at United. Nothing better illustrated this than the later months of 2020, when Danny Wright could count on the company of Whitfield, CLE and Nemane in the United attack. Exciting times and one of the best teams I’ve seen at Plainmoor in years….but I digress! Where best fit to Kieron Evans? Well an attacking position to the left or right of Jarvis might suit the small but energetic Welshman perfectly, add Corie Andrews on the other side and the Gulls are built to attack with energy and bravado. United need to find cohesion and fitness first, making this braver formation unlikely to start with, but it’s nice to speculate.
- DEAN MOXEY – The centre back area feels a little fragile, mainly because only one man is an experienced first team player, and that’s Mox. His calmness and knowhow will be crucial to how we perform in defence – with any luck Omar and Marshall will grow in stature alongside him.
- BRETT McGAVIN – One thing that’s become apparent in these early games is how important Brett McGavin will be for us this season. At Exmouth Gary Johnson was speaking to the midfielder a lot, and must see him as a leader in the middle of the field. His ability to pick passes, find goals and make runs into the box will be crucial.
- AARON JARVIS – Our strike-force have it all to prove this season, and no-one more so than Aaron Jarvis. In pre-season so far he’s looked the part, a robust player who is happy to engage with defenders, gain possession of the ball and bring others into play. After a few lean years, maybe Gary Johnson can bring the best out of him.