Torquay United's quickfire mission at Wimbledon tonight
Assistant manager Shaun Taylor admits that Torquay United are on a quickfire ‘back on it’ mission away to AFC Wimbledon tonight (7.45pm).
Manager Martin Ling, who attended a family funeral yesterday, did not mince his words after the tame 1-0 npower League Two defeat at Rotherham United at the weekend, and Taylor followed up by saying: “Everyone knows that Saturday wasn’t good enough.
“When that happens to any team, you can’t wait for the next game to come round.
“We set ourselves standards, and too many people didn’t perform to those standards at Rotherham.
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“If you’ve only got three or four people playing to an OK standard, the result isn’t going to be there. But the Rotherham game has gone now.
“We’ve all had those bad days at the office and, if you look around League Two at the moment, there are some strange results going about – teams like Cheltenham, Oxford and Northampton all lost on Saturday when they weren’t expected to.
“The good thing is that we’ve got another game coming up quickly.”
Captain Lee Mansell added: “I’m just glad it’s happened now, early in the season, when we have time to put it right.”
That did not happen last season, when United travelled to Wimbledon’s Cherry Red Records Stadium three games from the end of the campaign.
Victory then, with promotion rivals Shrewsbury Town and Crawley Town both dropping points on the day, would have lifted United up to second place with only two games to go. But they were well below-par, lost 2-0, never really recovered and had to settle for an ultimately unsuccessful tilt at the play-offs.
One consolation from the Rotherham game is that United did not pick up any new injuries.
It means that Ling, if he wants to, can make a change or two tonight. But history hints that the Gulls’ boss seldom allows the baby to follow the bathwater at times like this.
The Rotherham defeat was, after all, United’s first of the League season, and Ling has named the same 20-man squad who made the weekend trip to South Yorkshire.
Wimbledon are not in the best of spirits. They have conceded a worrying 17 goals in their first six matches, leading scorer Jack Midson is suspended after a red card in last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Rochdale, and experienced defenders Mat Mitchel-King and Curtis Osano are both injured.
But defender Dale Bennett, on loan from Watford, may return after injury, and veteran manager Terry Brown did boost his squad with the signings of midfielder Steven Gregory on loan from AFC Bournemouth and defender Will Antwi from Luton Town last week.
Brown, who has been the architect of Wimbledon’s rise over the last five years, admits that he is under pressure, probably for the first time.
“I know full well that if the results don’t turn I’ll have to move on – that’s a fact of the game,” Brown said on Saturday. “But the board, even up to this week, have continued to back me 100%.”
Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Craig, Morris, Bodin, Howe, Stevens, Jarvis, Cruise, Easton, Macklin, Yeoman, Thompson, McKenzie, Leadbitter.
Unavailable: Lathrope (knee), Halpin (ankle), Baker (suspended).