December 26, 2014
TORQUAY UNITED are in a race against time to get their talented young captain Luke Young fit for the vital Christmas and New Year programme, starting with the visit of West rivals Bristol Rovers – and former Gulls’ stalwart Lee Mansell – to Plainmoor on Boxing Day.
Young, 21, had to miss United’s tame 2-0 defeat at Braintree Town last weekend because of a ‘dead leg’, the result of a kick just above his left knee.
Gulls physio Gareth Law has been handing out intensive treatment to Young and right-back Durrell Berry, who also missed the Braintree game with a groin injury.
(Durrell Berry has been missing with a groin injury.)
“We’re doing everything we can to get Luke and Durrell back for Boxing Day – and we’re hopeful that they will make it. They were both big misses last weekend.” said United manager Chris Hargreaves.
Another absentee, who is back in training, is winger Courtney Cameron, who was sent home to rest last week after a hospital stay in which he had two teeth removed.
The holiday programme includes home and away games against Rovers – Boxing Day at home (3pm) and New Year’s Day at the Memorial Stadium – sandwiching a trip to South London club Welling United next Sunday, December 28.
Hargreaves is in no doubt about the importance of the Pirates’ visit to the Launa Windows Stadium.
“Our fans had every right to have a go after the Braintree game. There’s been only two games this season where I’ve been disappointed with our whole application – Aldershot and Braintree.”
Young was also missing, suspended, for the Aldershot defeat.
(Luke Young is the stand-out performer with Torquay this season with 12 assists and some spectacular goals.)
“Although we lost at Kidderminster after the Aldershot game, we then went to Barnet and won (3-2),” Hargreaves recalled.
“Rovers is a massive game for us, and the players must give just as big a reaction. I am expecting everyone to be firing on Friday, because I know we can beat Bristol Rovers at our best.”
Former United captain Mansell, whose total of 389 appearances places him sixth on the club’s all-time list, returns to Plainmoor for the first time since his eight seasons here ended last summer.
Mansell, 32, has been a regular in midfield for the Pirates, who currently lie third in the Conference Premier table, five places and seven points ahead of the Gulls.
Friday’s match is all-ticket for Rovers fans, but NOT for Torquay supporters, who can pay on the day.
(Article adapted from the Herald Express with thanks.)