Torquay United bid to add extra firepower
NEW Torquay United boss Alan Knill is determined to add more firepower to his goal-shy attack as the Gulls – they face Oxford United at Plainmoor on Saturday (3pm) – fight to haul themselves away from relegation trouble.
Knill has already made Notts County midfielder Joss Labadie his first loan signing – but the Gulls' manager is just as anxious to tackle a goal-return of only two goals in United's last seven matches.
Knill, who saw Torquay end a seven-match losing streak with a 0-0 draw at Accrington Stanley last weekend, has to decide whether to extend striker Elliot Benyon's loan.
Benyon's first month runs out after the Oxford game, although there is an option for him to say to the end of the season.
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But Knill – United dropped the 'interim' tag to his manager title last weekend – will try to sign another forward, even if he keeps Benyon.
Knill has been able to concentrate all his transfer attention on attack after being cheered by the progress of injured central defender Aaron Downes.
Downes was expected to resume training today after a hamstring injury and may even be available to face Oxford. That's allowed United to send young centre-back Kirtys McKenzie out on loan to Southern League Division One (S-W) Taunton Town.
Wingers Saul Halpin and Karl Baker are also being loaned out to SL Premier club Bideford.
But the key moves will be into Plainmoor.
South London-born Labadie, 22, is 6ft 2in tall and he started his career as a trainee at West Bromwich Albion.
He had loan spells at Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Tranmere before joining the Birkenhead club for two years in 2010.
He signed for League One Notts County on a one-year deal last summer and saw first-team action for the Magpies as recently as last weekend, when he went on as a sub in a 1-0 over Carlisle.
"He's a good size, he can tackle and he can pass the ball," said Knill.
United's manager and assistant Shaun Taylor 'spied' on Oxford in their 4-0 home defeat by promotion-chasing Rotherham on Tuesday night, a result which dealt a major blow to the U's Play-Off hopes. Key games at the bottom of League Two this weekend – five points cover York City (18th) down to AFC Wimbledon (24th) – include those two meeting in Kingston.
Plymouth Argyle (23rd) travel to leaders Gillingham, Accrington (22nd) are away to Northampton (7th) and Barnet (21st) entertain Morecambe.
The Gulls have eleven games left, six at home and five away, and their shortage of goals on the road remains a major worry – 12 in 18 away games is the lowest tally in the division.
Next week they travel to mid-table Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night and Southend United (8th) four days later.
Knill hopes to have another new signing, either a winger or a striker, on board by then.