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Striker combination gives Torquay United hope


If Torquay United fans are looking for reason to be happy, and they must certainly be with the Gulls bottom of the National League after 12 games, the new combination of summer signing Aaron Jarvis and loanee from Stoke City Will Goodwin up front might be the best option.

Centre-forward Jarvis has looked like a handful since finally returning from a pre-season injury last month, and he scored a high-quality first goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 home loss against Maidenhead, while Goodwin’s well-taken midweek opener was his third of the campaign.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to York, manager Gary Johnson said: “Aaron and Will can be a very strong partnership for us.

“Will is developing as a good striker – that’s why Stoke allowed him to come to us, to learn the game in a more competitive environment.

“He’s got all the tools, and there’s still more to come from him.

“We hope these two can continue, and we need to provide them with more quality balls.”

United may have lost Kieron Evans (fractured ribs) and Ross Marshall (calf) in the first half to Maidenhead, but Johnson will hope right-back Dylan Crowe and skipper Asa Hall can be back from their own injuries.

The Gulls may still be recovering from a midweek game in which they were handed a controversial penalty, and they also conceded a last-minute winner seconds after clearing their own header from the line, but Johnson stressed: “We shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves – we shouldn’t do that, we should perform after bad decisions.

“There aren’t any teams in this division at the minute that don’t have more weaknesses than strengths – it’s the day, it really is.

“If we play well, we will have every chance of winning.”

There may be over a hundred points left to play, but Gulls fans are inevitably concerned about such a poor start and even the prospect of a long relegation fight.

“I can understand people’s concerns about this,” Johnson said.

“We’re all human, but I’m not worried right now because I 100% believe that’s not an option – it’s not going to happen.

“Although it seems a little dark to some, we have to keep going and believe in what we are doing.

“Everyone makes mistakes and everyone makes mistakes in judgement, even in the Premier League – that’s football.

“We have to break the habit of losing or drawing when we’re at it.”

Three years ago Torquay took just one season to recover from the south of Newfoundland, but it took much longer for York, a club with a great history, to escape from the north of Newfoundland.

They finally did after moving from their much-loved former home ground of Bootham Crescent to New York Community Stadium in 2021.

City (9th) got off to a decent start after promotion under former Macclesfield and Port Vale manager John Askey.

One of their summer signings, ex-Gulls on loan striker Scott Boden, has already moved to Buxton but former Plainmoor players Manny Duku and Fraser Kerr are there, center forward Duku after spells with Raith Rovers and Inverness CT and centre-back Kerr after a short spell at Chesterfield.

Askey has several experienced players who are proving useful at the moment – Mike Duckworth in defence, Mitch Hancox and Gus Mafuta in midfield and Luke James and captain Lenell John-Lewis in attack.

John-Lewis, 33, who has played for Bury, Grimsby twice and Shrewsbury among others, has scored six goals so far.

Saturday’s referee is Michael Barlow from Bolton.