Torquay United v FC Halifax Town: Opposition Focus

TORQUAY, ENGLAND - APRIL 22:  Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United acknowledges the fans prior to the Vanarama National League South match between Torquay United and Hungerford Town at Plainmoor on April 22, 2019 in Torquay, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
TORQUAY, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Gary Johnson, Manager of Torquay United acknowledges the fans prior to the Vanarama National League South match between Torquay United and Hungerford Town at Plainmoor on April 22, 2019 in Torquay, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

FC Halifax Town face a Torquay side on Saturday decimated by injuries, says Guy Henderson from the Herald Express newspaper.

The Gulls are expected to be without five first-team players for this weekend’s FA Trophy tie, although midfielders Kalvin Kalala and Armani Little could both feature after recent injuries.

How has Torquay’s season been so far?

Unpredictable - a solid start followed by a great run which saw them up to second place and just two points off the lead. However, the 4-2 win at Halifax on November 2 was the last win before a run of eight defeats in nine league games which saw them drop to mid-table. Torquay have won only one league game and one FA Trophy game since the win at Halifax.

How seriously will they be taking the FA Trophy?

Pretty seriously. Gary Johnson will be keen to keep his team ticking over and will expect to see some of his ‘fringe’ players taking their chance. Having said that, the squad has been more than decimated by injuries this season so the choice available to him isn’t massive. Johnson isn’t the sort of manager to dismiss any game in any competition as irrelevant. Every game is important and as a football traditionalist at heart, he does love a cup tie. Torquay have been to an FA Trophy final before losing to Ebbsfleet at Wembley in 2008.

Form hasn’t been great over the last couple of months - why is that?

The injuries have taken their toll on Torquay this season. The bad run coincides with the loss of a number of key players, some of whom are still absent. United are currently without experienced defender Liam Davis, Frank Vincent, Opi Edwards, Ben Wynter and Matt Buse through injury. Gary Johnson has already said he plans a rebuild during the January transfer window, with some players leaving and others being recruited.

What can Halifax expect to come up against in terms of Torquay’s style of play and main strengths?

Halifax have already experienced Torquay at their best this season in that 4-2 win. Torquay play a quick passing game through midfield and look for top scorer Jamie Reid up front. Reid scored twice in the 4-2 win and has 17 goals so far this season. He has scored 51 goals in his last 75 appearances for Torquay, and although he has been linked to a number of clubs as the transfer window approaches, Gary Johnson says: “I’m sure his name will be on people’s minds, but I want to keep him.”

Any weaknesses Halifax could exploit?

Without the injured Liam Davis and ben Wynter - left back and right back - Torquay have had to try a number of different options across the back four, some more successful than others. Saturday’s clean sheet at Dagenham and Redbridge was Torquay’s first since October

Likely line-up/formation?

Probably a 3-5-2 made up of Covolan; Lewis, Cundy, Cameron; Nemane, Hall, Andrews, Lemonheigh-Evans, Whitfield; Reid, Keating.