Torquay United boss delighted with the form of Aaron Downes and Brian Saah
Torquay United may still be looking for the team consistency which will establish them in the npower League Two promotion race, but manager Martin Ling has no complaints about the week-in week-out form of his centre-backs Brian Saah and Aaron Downes.
"I don't think there's a better pair of central defenders in our league – at least, I haven't seen one yet," said Ling.
"If you're looking for consistency in players, they've given it to us. Even when we've conceded goals or things haven't gone right, we've rarely ended up pointing any fingers at them.
"Brian, Aaron and Rene Howe, I feel, have given us what you want in most of our games so far."
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Ling spared Saah and Downes from criticism even in the face of a 3-2 defeat at Bristol Rovers which featured a poor first-half team display. In Tuesday's 2-1 home win over leaders Gillingham, the way that Saah and Downes countered the threat of former Derby and Charlton forward Deon Burton and USA international Robbie Findley was a key element in one of the stand-out results of the season so far.
The pair came together in the summer, after Ling made Australian defender Downes his chosen replacement for Crewe-bound Mark Ellis.
United sold Ellis to Crewe Alexandra for £75,000 and picked up Downes on a free transfer from Chesterfield.
"Aaron has had a good first third of the season, and he's always a threat at set-pieces, and Brian has been excellent for a year now," said Ling.
"Brian had a difficult start early last season, but since then he has been as good as anyone in the club.
"If they can stay fit and avoid suspension for the whole season, we'll be a lot better off."
Ling admitted that he still has his feelers out for a fourth central defender, to complete a roster which also includes promising 19-year-old Kirtys McKenzie.
"We have high hopes for Kirtys, but, if I could find someone who fitted into the gap between him and Brian and Aaron, I'd be interested," said Ling.
United sustained no new injuries in the win over Gillingham, and Ling will have right-back Joe Oastler back from suspension for tomorrow's visit of Morecambe to Plainmoor.