DEVON DERBY COUNTDOWN: Torquay United striker Rene Howe can't wait
With three goals to his name already this campaign, Torquay United striker Rene Howe sits proudly at the top of the npower League Two scoring charts – and he is desperate to add to his tally in the weekend's Devon derby clash with Plymouth Argyle.
The 25-year-old target man, described as "Emile Heskey but with goals" by his manager, Martin Ling, has made a blistering start to the campaign with a goal in the 2-2 draw with Cheltenham Town followed by a brace against Rochdale. He also provided the pass for Ian Morris to notch his first of the campaign in last week's 1-1 draw at Port Vale.
"Three in four isn't bad. I would like to have scored at Port Vale, but I inevitably passed to Morro, who was in a better position to score," Howe said.
"I don't mind doing that, but, if he had missed, I would have been on his case because I don't normally pass!
"It has been a great start for us, it was just a shame we conceded that goal at Port Vale towards the end. We had 17 1-0 wins last season and we thought we were going to do it again, but roll on Saturday and Plymouth. It's a big game," Howe added.
"I haven't scored against them before, I played one game and then I was suspended for the next. It will be a big game with a big crowd, and it will be fun to play in."
Howe has certainly played his part in United's unbeaten start to the season, and his second goal in the 4-2 win over Rochdale was perhaps the highlight of the season for United so far.
Howe ran through on goal before producing a cute dink over Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis, much to his delight. "I'm pleased to be scoring goals because that is a boost to my confidence. Every striker wants to score, it doesn't matter who it is against, you just want to score," he said.
"In training, I had been trying to do that [dink] against Ricey [Martin Rice] and none of them had been coming off. They were going over the bar or straight into his hands, so to have it coming off in a game situation was good. I always fancy myself to score, so I thought I'd try it.
"If you have the confidence to try it, then it will come off at some point. Everything was right. The distance from me and the goalie was right, the distance from the goal was right, so I went for it and it went in. It was fun to get the goal like that."
Now, Howe wants to put Argyle to the sword and build on Torquay's solid start to the season. "It will be lively and there will be a few tackles going in, that's for sure," he said. "I will have to be on my best behaviour because I'm racking up the cards like anyone's business.
"I have more goals than cards at the moment and, as long as I do that, it keeps the gaffer [Ling] off my back.
"If we play well and stick to our game-plan and the fans get behind us, then I'm sure we will come out on top," Howe concluded.
Ryan Jarvis missed a penalty but then scored the equaliser as Torquay drew 1-1 with the Nike Academy XI in a 'development' friendly at Plainmoor yesterday.
Jarvis' 46th-minute spot-kick was saved by Nike goalkeeper Alistair Worby, after Karl Baker had been pushed over. Six minutes later the Loughborough-based visitors took the lead with a right-foot shot by Tom Folyton-Brown.
The Academy were marginally the better side during a low-key first half which saw United give trials to former Bristol Rovers stalwart Byron Anthony and ex-Cardiff City centre-back Alex Evans in defence and Bodmin Town's Chris Luxton in midfield.
United nearly took the lead when Worby tipped away a cross by left-winger Baker before, in the 81st minute, Jarvis made up for his miss.
After a determined run and cross by Ashley Yeoman, Jarvis took a touch, turned and fired in the equaliser from eight yards out.
Goals from Stewart Yetton (38 minutes) and Keiffer Moore (70) were not enough to prevent Truro City going down to a 3-2 Blue Square Bet South defeat last night at Basingstoke Town, who were two up inside ten minutes.