Saturday, December 15th 2012
The cold snap has well and truly set in and it’s around about this time every season when snow and ice begins to emerge and you get a back log of games to contend with thanks to winter postponements. So fingers crossed that we do get the chance to stop a run of three consecutive defeats down in Devon tomorrow with Torquay United our hosts for the latest Christmas fixture. We don’t have a great record down at Plainmoor but not much is separating the two sides so far this season…
Pushing for the playoffs…
The Gulls remained above the Cobblers in the clutch of sides hoping to break into the playoff chase despite a narrow 1-0 defeat at Bradford last weekend where they battled for the majority of the game with ten men. They had previously beaten Dagenham and Redbridge at home to move ahead of Town in the table but only two points separate the clubs going into the weekend.
Boss Ling standing by defender…
Torquay defender Brian Saah was sent off at Bradford last weekend following an elbow on the Bantams’ James Meredith but boss Martin Ling has stuck by his man this week but the club decided against any appeal. That means Saah will miss the game against the Cobbles as well as the derby clashes with Plymouth and Exeter over Christmas.
Torquay keeper Michael Poke was once on loan with the Cobblers but his time on the pitch was limited to two games in the Football League Trophy.
Defender Kevin Nicholson was with the Cobblers in 2001, making seven appearances before signing for Notts County in the same year.
Striker Ryan Jarvis had a loan spell with the Cobblers from Leyton Orient in 2010 but made only three appearances for the club.
Head of Youth at Torquay, Geoff Harrop is another former employee of the Cobblers where he did a similar role at Sixfields.
Jake Robinson spent a successful spell with United in 2011, helping them to the League Two playoff final. He scored seven goals in twenty two appearances for the club before joining the Cobblers the following summer.
Fellow striker Bayo Akinfenwa is another to have donned the shirt for both clubs having scored fourteen times for Torquay in the 2004/05 season.
Midfielder Luke Guttridge began his career at Plainmoor but only made one senior appearance before signing for Cambridge United in 2000.
Following the red card for Brian Saah last weekend, Reading loanee Angus Macdonald stepped in and should do the same again for the visit of the Cobblers to partner Aaron Downes in the middle of the Gulls’ defence.
The Cobblers are still without long term injury victims David Artell, Nana, Luke Guttridge, John Johnson and Alex Nicholls so we’re likely to name a similar starting line-up to the one that played against Cheltenham Town last weekend.
Previous Six Meetings…
28/01/12: Torquay 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)
Mark Ellis scored the only goal of the game in the last meeting between the sides back in January with his header fifteen minutes from time sealing three points for the Gulls.
10/09/11: Cobblers 0-0 Torquay (League Two)
Uneventful draw at Sixfields earlier that season saw both sides go home relatively happy with a point.
25/03/11: Cobblers 2-2 Torquay (League Two)
In a manic finale to this crucial game towards the end the 2010/11 season, Eunan O’Kane gave Torquay the lead early on before John Johnson levelled. Billy Kee netted a 90th minute goal to seemingly give the Gulls all three points but incredibly Guillem Bauza equalised again in stoppage time!
07/08/10: Torquay 3-0 Cobblers (League Two)
An opening day of the season encounter at Plainmoor ended with Torquay making the perfect start to the campaign after a 3-0 hammering that saw Kevin Nicholson open the scoring against his former club and Chris Zebroski and Elliot Benyon make it safe early in the second half.
05/04/10: Cobblers 0-0 Torquay (League Two)
Another goalless draw at Sixfields on a Bank Holiday Monday near the end of the 2009/10 season.
31/10/09: Torquay 1-0 Cobblers (League Two)
Chris Hargreaves scored an 83rd minute winner to sink his former club in a tight contest back in October 2009.
The man in the middle…
Taking charge of affairs at Plainmoor tomorrow will be Chris Sarginson, who was the official for Torquay’s 0-0 draw at Fleetwood earlier this season. He was last in charge of a Cobblers game in the 3-1 defeat at Crawley back in April. He has shown thirty five yellow cards and four reds in fifteen games so far this season.
Torquay have an excellent record at Plainmoor this season and have suffered just one defeat there in ten outings so far. The Cobblers, on the other hand, have won just twice in ten away from home and will find this a tough trip to overcome. I’m hoping for an end to this run at least and like last weekend I’ll take a point and think we can manage it. 1-1.