Shaun Taylor to take charge at Cheltenham after Martin Ling health scare
HAVING guided Torquay United to a key away win over Devon rivals Exeter City on Monday night, in the enforced absence of manager Martin Ling, assistant Shaun Taylor will remain in charge when the Gulls tackle their second Westcountry opponents of the week, Cheltenham Town, at Whaddon Road on Saturday.
Ling is resting at his family home in Waltham Forest, Hertfordshire, after being taken ill last weekend.
He had taken a pre-derby training session at Plainmoor on Sunday morning, but ended up in hospital in Exeter for tests after feeling unwell later in the day.
He was due to have further tests later this week.
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Taylor – he and Ling both began their League playing careers at Exeter – broke the news of Ling's illness to the Torquay players before they tackled their local rivals. Ling watched United's 1-0 win at St James' Park via Sky Sports' live TV coverage, and he was well enough for Taylor to drive him home on Tuesday.
United's managing director Bill Phillips said: "We all hope that it's a viral infection, even though that can be nasty enough.
"Our top priority is to make sure that Martin is A1 again as soon as possible.
"In the meantime we have every confidence in Shaun's ability, with goalkeeping coach Kenny Veysey's help, to run the team while Martin is away, as they showed at Exeter this week."
Father-of-two Ling, 46, has maintained a demanding schedule during his 18 months in charge at United.
He lives with a family friend near Exeter during the week, but travels home most weekends and whenever United's fixtures and scouting duties allow.
The closure of the January transfer 'window' tonight is not thought to be a major issue for Ling.
He was leaning towards a loan deal anyway, especially if centre-forward Rene Howe is injured or suspended, and they remain available until the third week of March.
United also have no midweek game before Fleetwood Town come to Plainmoor on Saturday week.
Everyone at the club has been lifted by the Exeter victory, which ended a run of six games without a win during a postponement-hit spell over Christmas and the New Year.
Leading scorer Howe had scored from the spot in the 1-1 draw with City at Plainmoor 13 days before, and he converted his 13th goal of the season with a penalty in the 17th minute on Monday.
After conceding a series of costly late goals in recent weeks, this time United clinched all three points and lifted themselves five places in League Two (13th) in the process.
"We still have games in hand on most teams around us," said Taylor, "but games in hand are no good unless you win them. We've got a tough game coming up at Cheltenham on Saturday, but the aim is to try and put a good run together now."
Midfielder Nathan Craig, who was forced off in the first half with double vision after a head knock, has made a full recovery.
Cheltenham (6th), who beat the Gulls in last season's Play-Off Semi-Finals, this week tried to boost their hopes of going one better this year by signing midfielder Jason Taylor from Rotherham and striker Paul Benson on loan from Swindon.