Dom discusses talking points ahead of the NL game
We need to hunt down 6 points this Easter, nothing less will keep optimism alive for the Gulls. It starts with a home match against bogey team Eastleigh FC, a team we have struggled against far too often in the past. Since beating them twice in the Hargreaves 2014-15 season, we’ve only managed one more meagre victory in the following 13 meetings. The good news? The squad come into it with their fragile morale boosted and some momentum, the next challenge is overcoming the Plainmoor jitters that have handicapped the team over the course of the season. With characters like Hall, Dawson and Nouble about (and fit), I fancy our chances of a win more than I have in numerous weeks, Torquay United do not let me down.
I’ve written a number of these, and the guessing game over our line-up has been the most difficult aspect by far. Players shuffled in and out, loan chaps suddenly arriving out of nowhere, tactics tinkered with, it’s been a classic season of struggle in those regards, a struggle to find consistency and results. A proper shambles let’s be honest. But this one at least appears fairly simple, unless Tom Lapslie is chucked back into action and injuries rule players out, the line-up will remain the same. With a game coming up two days later, Gary Johnson will be wary of Asa Hall playing 90 minutes and then failing to make Monday’s fixture, but it depends on how it all plays out. Let’s face it, we don’t soundly beat anyone, so it’s bound to be close and nervy, with hopefully a better Plainmoor finish to send the Yellow Army faithful home happy.
The centre halves will have a game on their hands stopping Aaron Jarvis and Frank Nouble. The two strikers have started to get to know each other games, and combined well occasionally at Scunthorpe. Nouble has a very good appreciation of where to find space, likes to drift out wide and that means we can use the channels with more purpose than we have done all season. We can’t expect to keep clean sheets in every game, and rarely scoring more than one goal has been hampering us for months, maybe this robust partnership can change that.
Eastleigh FC rarely ever command any headlines, they are a low profile football club who have been playing in the National League since 2014 and under manager Lee Bradbury they are having a strong 22-23. The Spitfires are placed in 7th with 64 points from 40 games, scoring 48 and conceding 43. They are sound defensively and have attacking players in Charlie Carter and Danny Whitehall who can cause Torquay problems. Nothing for the Gulls to fear, but that doesn’t mean they won’t turn us over (see Daggers, Southend, Wealdstone etc)!
6 GAMES LEFT
There’s been a lot of ‘if onlys’ mentioned in the last week or so, plus phrases like ‘there’s still hope’, ‘you never know’ etc! I think we all know in reality the task is still huge to get out of this mess and keep regional football at bay (out of the bay..), but great escapes are part of this club’s history, and all we can do is look ahead, take one game at a time and hope the Gulls throw the kitchen sink at the task in hand. A win over Eastleigh gives us a sprinkling more belief, some welcome cheer for the home support and keeps the season alive heading to Maidenhead. Fingers crossed for all 3 and a ‘Good Friday’, see you at Plainmoor.