Dom Roman – @DomRoman
Dom discusses talking points ahead of the game at Plainmoor
If you were to note down the least anticipated dates of the Torquay United calendar, then the 3rd round of the FA Trophy a week before Christmas would undoubtedly be high on the list! It’s never a game that stirs the cockles even when we are good, so expectations are for a low crowd at Plainmoor tomorrow and understandably so. But what the fixture does allow us is the chance to rotate some players into the line-up whilst resting others, a chance to gain a very rare win at home, and a chance to gather some momentum ahead of the massive Yeovil Town games (eeek!). All in all a tough sell, but if we can drag positives out of it to avoid a blue Christmas then it’s been worthwhile, and it is a slim chance of a winning a cup after all. Don’t start dusting off the old trophy cabinet just yet though!
Gary Johnson has hinted at fielding as strong a line-up as possible this weekend, and he clearly views the game as must-win and a chance to step into Christmas with some confidence. It would be good to see the likes of Hanson, Andrews and Wyatt play some part in the fixture. Andrews especially has an awful lot to prove at Torquay, and a game against a generous looking Bluebirds defence could be perfect for him to get off the mark. Ben Wyatt’s return at left back would allow Dean Moxey to move into central defence and help tighten up that shaky back four. I’d expect to see Lapslie and McGavin inserted back into the midfield, Jarvis/Goodwin continuing upfront and an attacking line-up looking to entertain the chilly Yellow Army who make the trip.
Gary Horgan brings his Chippenham team to Plainmoor after a mid-week loss to Oxford City (with Klalidi Lolos bagging a spectacular goal!). They sit in a lowly 22nd in the National League South, with only 16 points from 19 games…very similar output to us. On a warning note they have beaten Lincoln in the FA Cup, so a Gulls win is far from definite (as always!). Stand-out players noted by supporter Lee Kington (see below) include goalkeeper Will Henry and attacker Jordan Young, a promising young player who Gary Johnson may have his eye on from the dug-out. We should win no doubt about that, but last Christmas we were turned over by Tonbridge, so an upset is always possible.
At the minute ‘Gary Johnson the brilliant football manager’ seems almost as mythical as Father Christmas (sorry kids)! Where’s the inspiration and tactical nous to win us games? Where’s the defensive organisation and fortitude to get us up the table? I’m not sure if Gary is under pressure from the owners at the moment, but he should be. Are we accepting failure and miserable struggles this season, are we afraid to act or unwilling to move away from a manager who has previously served us well? This game won’t swing things either way, but surely Yeovil (h&a) will be critical? All I want for Christmas is our manager to prove that he’s still up to the task, otherwise other options should be explored.