Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Torquay United v York City: Gulls swoop to stiffen defence crippled by injury
TORQUAY United have drafted in Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Antony O’Connor to ease a defensive crisis ahead of tomorrow’s home game with York City.
O’Connor, who was an ever-present for Burton Albion as they reached last season’s League Two play-offs, has been brought in on loan from Blackburn Rovers to cover for the loss of Aussie centre-back Aaron Downes.
Last season’s Player of the Year Downes is sidelined with a knee problem that caused him to miss last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Newport where, with 19-year-old Kirtys McKenzie still coming to terms with being diagnosed as a diabetic, Tom Cruise filled in at the heart of the defence alongside Krystian Pearce.
McKenzie is a relative rookie anyway, with just one senior appearance to his name, so 20-year-old O’Connor is almost certain to be handed his full debut tomorrow.
Home boss Alan Knill will then need to decide between Cruise or the long-serving Kevin Nicholson at left-back.
Nicholson was recalled at Newport despite asking for a loan move after being left out of the team and seems the most likely candidate to drop out against the Minstermen.
Torquay also remain without goalkeeper Michael Poke due to a thigh problem that has seen him play no part in the 2013/14 campaign so far.
Second-choice shot-stopper Martin Rice will, therefore, continue between the sticks.
Rice has been with Torquay more than six years but nine of his 21 league starts for the club have come this term.
Torquay, currently 18th in the League Two standings, have the fourth-worst defensive record in the division with only three sides Cheltenham (19), Portsmouth (18) and Accrington (16) having shipped more league goals than the 15 conceded by Knill’s team.
In fact, the Devon side have only kept one clean sheet in the league all season during a 0-0 draw at home to struggling Hartlepool.
At the other end of the pitch, former Sheffield United winger Jordan Chapell is the club’s leading marksman with four goals although he has only netted once in his last six outings.
He is fit despite being substituted at Newport because of a knock to his ankle.
His replacement – on-loan teenage Charlton striker Ade Azeez – went on to score with one of his first touches as a Torquay player.
Azeez, 19, is now hoping to have done enough to secure only his second league start in senior football – the first came during a loan spell with Leyton Orient last season when he was be replaced during the half-time interval at Doncaster.
On-loan Derby forward Callum Ball is expected to retain his place in attack as Azeez competes with Karl Hawley for the other berth.
Another frontman, Ashley Yeoman, will not feature tomorrow, however, as he is set to start a three-month loan spell with non-League neighbours Bideford.
Torquay tackle City with just two wins from their opening nine league games but their last home fixture witnessed a first victory of the campaign at Plainmoor against fellow strugglers Cheltenham, who were seen off 4-2.
Team (probable): Rice, Tonge, Pearce, O’Connor, Cruise, Chapell, Mansell, Harding, Cameron, Ball, Azeez.
Comments are closed on this article.