Craig Hughes – @craigwwfc35
Craig previews Saturday’s game
SQUAD DEPTH AND FITNESS
I’m pretty certain tomorrow’s game against Boreham Wood will be another test of Torquay’s already injury hit squad! Not to mention the suspension of central defender Ross Marshall for one game after his sending off against Bromley on Tuesday night. It must be frustrating for Gary Johnson not to be able pick a settled side on a weekly basis, with too many dreaded injuries creeping in yet again.
Upfront it seems like Aaron Jarvis is not going to be ready any time in the near future, a player that a lot of fans were looking forward to seeing, but the early days of his Torquay career haven’t started well. It would also be nice to see a partnership of Will Goodwin and Corie Andrews, as that would definitely give us a different dynamic to our game, but alas Corie may not return tomorrow either.
Another long term absentee is Dan Martin, who we really miss on the left to offer us pace and attacking intent. Meanwhile midfielders Tom Lapslie and Asa Hall always seems to be 50/50 on whether they’re going to play or not and it’s a case of wait until the starting 11 is announced to see if they are on it.
Because of these injury problems we have had to rely on loan signings, with the likes of Nelson Iseguan (who limped off injured himself not long after coming on against Halifax!) and Tommy Hughes. I think Shaun Donnellan may be available tomorrow and could start at centre half to cover the suspended Ross Marshall. Yes there is the option of youngster Ollie Tomlinson, but against a well-drilled Boreham Wood side I think Gary Johnson will want the experience of Donnellan there if available! At present a lot of little niggles and persistent injuries are disrupting the squad, as the starting XI changes and the balance and shape of the team is yet to settle.
With only 3 games played of the new National League season, Torquay have already picked up a number of yellow cards and one red card. Is this a cause for concern? Possibly, if players are lacking discipline and end up missing games because of it, but it also does show commitment and fight from the group, a situation which could be looked at from different viewpoints. Ross Marshall has been booked in all 3 league games so far before being shown red for a silly foul against Bromley, and the likes of McGavin, Omar and Hanson have also been shown a couple of yellow cards each in these early stages of the season. Maybe this comes as a shock because last season at times we were too much of a soft touch and allowed other teams to bully us.
MORE FROM OUT WIDE
With the way the Gary has been setting the side up, using 5 at the back and a couple of wing backs, the likes of Ben Wyatt and Dylan Crowe need to do more. They need to get forward more enthusiastically to help our attacks and put crosses into the box. Dan Martin did very well on the left last season with his bursts of pace and energy, characteristics that are majorly lacking from what I have seen so far this season. This is key to our style of play as it provides an extra dynamic to the game and the opposition more to think about. I do rate Dylan Crowe and Ben Wyatt very highly and on the whole I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them both, but I feel they just need to get forward that little bit more to provide the width and space to help our attacking play, preferably starting tomorrow at Plainmoor!
Boreham Wood are a well-oiled machine under manager Luke Garrard, and enjoyed an excellent FA Cup run last season. They are a side that always provide a tough test and in most cases it’s really tight game and decided by the odd goal. The Wood have also endured a mixed start to this campaign with one win so far (a 1-0 win away at Southend on the opening day of the season, a 2-2 draw against much fancied Notts County and a 2-1 defeat at home to Aldershot on Tuesday night).
The Wood use a similar formation to United and have a number of decent and experienced players in their side. Big goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore is a solid base to start with at this level, and he’s accompanied by experienced defenders like Jamal Fyfield and Will Evans who will provide a good test for Will Goodwin and hopefully Corie Andrews if he’s available for selection. Tyrone Marsh is also a player to watch for them, a key player who can score and create a lot of chances, so we will definitely have to be on the top of our game defensively.
With Torquay being the home side I would hope that we will come out the traps all guns blazing and put on a show for the Plainmoor faithful, who always come in their numbers to support the lads. They need to be fired up for this one, as picking up as many points as possible in these early stages of the season can be crucial come the end.