Torquay United will be wary of prolific Powell
Torquay United must stop one of the hottest properties in the Football League if they are to beat Crewe Alexandra at Plainmoor on Saturday and keep their npower League Two automatic promotion hopes on course.
Nick Powell is the pick of the latest bunch of talent to emerge from the Alex's renowned Academy. Eighteen only last month, he has already scored 14 goals this season, he has just cleaned up at the Gresty Road annual awards ceremony, and Arsenal are among the Barclays Premier League clubs trailing him.
Born-and-bred in the village of Haslington, only a couple of miles from Crewe, Powell has been top of his football class since he took his first steps in the game, eventually winning England caps at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level.
He missed the 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town last weekend which forced the Alex into the play-offs zone for the first time this season, but manager Steve Davis expects a bout of tonsillitis to have cleared up in time for his young star to start against the Gulls on Saturday.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Powell hauled himself out of his sick bed to attend Crewe's awards night last Saturday. He went straight home after collecting the club's player of the season, young player of the season, goal of the season and away player of the season awards. He was also named Football League apprentice of the season.
Davis expressed surprise that, even in his first full season, Powell was not voted into the Professional Footballers' Association League Two select XI last weekend.
While Torquay celebrated an unprecedented four players in the XI, Davis said: "I attended the awards, and I was a little surprised that Nick didn't make the team of the year. I was sat with one or two managers from our league, and they were surprised as well. They all knew about him.
"He is only getting better, and those type of accolades will come his way in the future, if he keeps working hard."
Torquay's captain Lee Mansell, one of the four Gulls picked out by the PFA, is well aware of the importance of the clash with Crewe and the last game of the season at Hereford United seven days later.
"We all know that losing at Wimbledon last Saturday wasn't good enough, but we still have two games to rectify that result," Mansell said.
"We believe that two more wins will give us a fantastic chance of going straight up. We are up there on merit, we are one of the best sides in this league, and we didn't show it last Saturday. So now we need to beat Crewe and win at Hereford on the last day.
"We need a big reaction against Crewe, and if everyone gives an extra ten per cent – on and off the field – we can do it." Torquay boss Martin Ling does not expect to have any injury worries to hinder his plans for the Alex.