Torquay United wait for Lee Mansell fitness verdict
New loan striker Elliot Benyon is expected to start, but captain Lee Mansell is the major injury worry for Torquay United as they prepare to take on Steve Evans' Rotherham United at Plainmoor tonight (7.45pm).
Midfielder Mansell picked up a thigh injury in Saturday's 1-0 npower League Two home defeat by Fleetwood Town, and he is expected to have a fitness test before kick-off.
The Gulls' longest-serving player has not been ruled out, and assistant manager Shaun Taylor said: "Lee may make it, but we'll need to check him out first. He might be a doubt."
Benyon, 25, rejoined the club in time to train at Seale Hayne yesterday morning, and Taylor revealed that he would have come back to Plainmoor even if United had beaten Fleetwood.
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"This was always going to happen," said Taylor. "The chairman and I talked before Saturday's game, and, whatever the result against Fleetwood was, we were going to bring a new face in.
"We made calls to several clubs and individuals last week, but Elliot was always on the radar.
"It helps that he has been here before, and he knows a lot of the players from that time."
There is an option to extend a one-month loan to the end of the season.
Leading scorer Rene Howe completes his two-match suspension tonight, and Taylor commented: "We always knew that, with only two games out in the space of four days, Rene would be back quite soon.
"I thought Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman didn't do badly [up front] against Fleetwood, but apart from what he can do himself, Elliot coming in should also strengthen our substitutes' bench."
Benyon's pace and movement, plus his eye for goal, ought to lift a United attack which has scored only 36 goals in 29 league games so far. Their failure to find the back of the net, despite a strong first half and an upbeat display, cost them dear against Fleetwood.
Taylor, who will again deputise for ill manager Martin Ling, was quick to stress: "Cheltenham the previous weekend had been disappointing, but the players set a precedent for their level of performance on Saturday – that's the marker, if you like.
"There are people who say that there's no such thing as bad luck, just wrong decisions. But we've all been in situations where nothing seems to be going right, and there's only one way to change it.
"If we keep playing like we did for most of the match on Saturday, we will get results."
Joe Oastler again misses out with ankle trouble, but Danny Leadbitter played well at right-back anyway against Fleetwood and he is set to hold that spot.
This is the first of three rearranged midweek matches – Aldershot Town away next Tuesday and Chesterfield home on March 19 are the others – which have handed United 14 games in February and March.
Rotherham were tipped as pre-season favourites for promotion, but 14 wins and 11 defeats are testament to the fact that manager Evans is still looking for the consistency which will allow them to meet the high expectations at the new New York Stadium.
A 2-0 defeat at Burton Albion last Saturday leaves them in ninth place, and it also cost them two red cards which see David Noble and Michael O'Connor suspended tonight.
Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Leadbitter, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Lathrope, Craig, Yeoman, Benyon, Bodin, Jarvis, Macklin, MacDonald, Easton, Stevens, Cruise, Thompson, McKenzie, Halpin, Baker.
Unavailable: Howe (suspended), Morris, Oastler (both injured).