Rene Howe is after Torquay United's goal-a-game record
TORQUAY UNITED'S leading scorer Rene Howe is closing in on the Gulls' 'goal-a-game' record.
United's in-form centre-forward has hit eight goals in the club's first 11 League Two matches, with Accrington Stanley next up at Plainmoor this Saturday.
But Howe's first-half equaliser in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Wycombe Wanderers was also his fifth goal in successive games.
That's left the former Peterborough United striker within reach of the club's record, which stands at seven.
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Only two men have scored for United in seven successive league matches – all-time record holder Sammy Collins in the 1950s and Carl Airey 23 years ago.
Bristol-born Collins' extraordinary marksmanship saw him score a total of 219 goals from 379 appearances from 1948-1958.
His seasonal tally of 42 goals in 1955-56 has only ever been threatened by Robin Stubbs' 39 ten years later.
But it was in the 1954-55 campaign that Collins scored in seven successive matches in September and October.
He finished up with a mere 28 goals that year.
In October and November of the 1989-90 season Airey, signed from Rotherham by the late Cyril Knowles, also scored in seven league games on the trot.
Airey did not hit the net in a 1-0 Leyland DAF Cup victory away to Bristol Rovers just before the end of his run – Mark Loram muscled in on the action – but he still shares the league record.
Howe was not due to start this midweek's Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie against Yeovil Town, but that match was postponed anyway.
It has been rearranged for next Tuesday night.
But Howe's next two league games are scheduled to be this Saturday's visit of Accrington and next weekend's Westcountry derby at Bristol Rovers. The Gulls go into the Accrington match as one of only two League Two teams, along with Chesterfield, who have yet to lose at home.
But they are still in mid-table after what manager Martin Ling described as "possibly our worst performance of the season" at Wycombe.
Several players, including skipper Lee Mansell and Kevin Nicholson, felt ill either before or after the game.
"We did look lacklustre, and if players are only five per cent off their normal selves, it's often enough. But it's an easy excuse to make, and we don't look for easy excuses ever," said Ling.
"We need to put that behind us.
"I'm hoping to have 23 players fit and available for Accrington on Saturday."
INSIDE: Howe's latest strike not enough to see off Wycombe – David Thomas' report on Page 113