Martin Ling will be ready to welcome Harrogate in FA Cup clash
Torquay United manager Martin Ling has dismissed any thought that Harrogate Town's on-off FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie might have affected the chances of either side ahead of tomorrow's first-round tie at Plainmoor.
Blue Square Bet North outfit Harrogate finally beat Hyde 1-0 in the second period of extra-time on Wednesday in a rearranged replay eventually played at local rivals Harrogate Railway Athletic's ground.
It did not finish until nearly 10.30pm, partly because the kick-off had to be put back, after Hyde were held up in traffic crossing the Pennines from Lancashire to Yorkshire.
"It has been a little bit of a saga, to say the least, but we finally know who we're playing," said Ling.
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"We'll be a little bit short of our normal preparation on the opposition, but we have coped with that before. We did have scouts watching both sides the other night, and I've got other reports on the way.
"We'll know enough about them to not make any excuses if we get beat. And, although probably 70% of their squad had to be at work in the morning, all their aches and pains and any tiredness will vanish by the time we play them."
Ling revealed that a stomach bug continues to hang over the Gulls' squad. Several players have gone down with it over the last few weeks – and the latest victims are skipper Lee Mansell and young defender Kyrtis McKenzie.
Ling said: "The worst time it affected us was probably before we lost at Wycombe early last month, but it seems to be a 24 or 48-hour thing, and then it goes quite quickly.
"Lee didn't train earlier in the week, but he'll be OK. It's the second time that Kyrtis has had it, and he may be a doubt, but we're making sure that anybody who reports any symptoms stays well clear of everyone else."
United have suffered one Cup exit this week. While Harrogate were booking their trip to Plainmoor on Wednesday, the Gulls' youngsters were slipping to a 2-1 defeat away to Bristol Rovers in the first round of the FA Youth Cup.
Although United took the lead with a set-piece header by defender James Washburn after 15 minutes, that goal was against the run of play and Rovers' superiority was not reflected in the scoreline.
United hung on to their lead until the 40th minute when Alefe Santos equalised with a curling shot into the top corner. Rovers went ahead in the 50th minute when Sam Kamara set up Jamie Lucas to bundle the ball home from close range.
The home side made and missed several chances and hit the woodwork in the second half, and Torquay could not find an equaliser.