Ling expects Morris and Howe to pass fit for Gulls
Torquay United are confident that both leading scorer Rene Howe and midfielder Ian Morris will be fit as they seek to register back-to-back wins for the first time this season against Burton Albion at Plainmoor today (3pm).
Howe jarred a knee trying to score a second goal in Tuesday's 1-0 victory at AFC Wimbledon, while Morris has a niggling groin injury which means that he misses the occasional day's training.
But United manager Martin Ling says: "We fully expect them both to be fit."
Howe's winner in midweek – he chased down a back pass and was rewarded when goalkeeper Se Brown's clearance went in off his back – was his fourth of the season.
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The former Kettering and Peterborough striker is, and always has been, a big lad and he has suffered his share of injuries in the past.
But Ling insists: "Rene is the fittest and the lightest he's been at this football club.
"Strikers are picked and paid to score goals. But for Rene, who plays a lone role up there a lot of time, it's massively important."
The old "he has a good touch for a big man" line is often trotted out, but in Howe's case, it is palpably true.
He holds the ball up and finds team-mates as well as any centre-forward in League Two, and maybe a bit higher, and his importance to the Gulls, especially in his current form and mood, cannot be underestimated.
Ling is keen to step up on a start which he continues to call "not scintillating but OK". Torquay have lost only once in seven games, but have drawn four times.
"We need to have more three-point outcomes to push ourselves up the league," he says, "and it would be nice to put back-to-back wins together."
Only injured duo Damon Lathrope and Saul Halpin are still unavailable, so the United manager has some selection posers to solve.
They are most likely to be in midfield, where he must decide whether to recall the extra attacking threat of wingers Danny Stevens or Niall Thompson or retain the increasingly impressive passing skills of young Welshman Nathan Craig.
There are others, including ex-Arsenal left-back Tom Cruise, who are cranking up the competition for places, but the team as a whole played well enough at Wimbledon for Ling to keep faith with them.
At least one Gulls player would like to celebrate a victory more than usual.
Sunday marks captain Lee Mansell's 30th birthday, a large contingent of family and friends are down from Gloucestershire for the weekend and, after 13 goals last season, he has yet to score for the first time in 2012-2013.
The Brewers, under new manager Gary Rowett, lost 3-0 at Exeter City at the start of the month, but they are up to sixth place after beating York City 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Their 14 goals so far is testament to the attacking threat posed by players such as lanky striker Calvin Zola and attacking midfielder Jacques Maghoma.
Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Easton, Morris, Bodin, Howe, Craig, Stevens, Jarvis, Thompson, , Cruise, Leadbitter, McKenzie, Yeoman, Macklin, Baker, Artemi.
Unavailable: Lathrope (knee), Halpin (ankle).