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Match Previews

Preview: Torquay United (H)

26 August 2019

The Bees are back at The Hive London this afternoon as they welcome Torquay United.

Darren Currie’s side go into the game off the back of a 1-1 draw away at Wrexham on Saturday.

JJ Hooper gave the hosts the lead with only two minutes on the clock before Dan Sparkes grabbed the equaliser six minutes later.

The Opposition

After facing relegation from the fifth tier in 2018, Torquay bounced back at the first attempt after finishing top of the pile in the National League North last season.

The Gulls, who finished 10 points clear last time around, will be looking to regain their Football League status after playing non-league football for five years.

Torquay, who were a League One club in 2005, faced the drop to non-league for the first time in their history three years later.

However, at the second attempt, they were back in League Two where they would stay for five seasons before facing relegation again.

With back-to-back promotion in their sights this season, the Gulls have started the season well and find themselves seventh in the standings.

They have clinched three wins so far this campaign, including a 2-0 victory over Aldershot Town on Saturday and will be hoping to come out on top three games in a row this afternoon.

As for their away form, the Gulls have tasted one victory, one draw and one defeat so far this season with their most recent outing ending in a 2-1 win away at Dover Athletic.

Manager: Gary Johnson

After guiding the Gulls to National League South triumph in his first season in charge last term, it came as no surprise when Johnson penned a new contract in the summer.

The Torquay boss began his managerial career in 1986 at Newmarket Town before becoming reserve team manager at Cambridge United two years later. Johnson then moved up to become the U’s assistant manager before taking the hot seat from 1993 to 1995.

Kettering Town was his next destination before leaving to become the director of Watford’s youth academy.

However, he quickly returned to management to take over as manager of the Latvian national side before returning to England, taking the reins at Yeovil Town.

During his first season with the Glovers, Johnson guided his side to FA Trophy glory, beating Stevenage 2-0 before clinching promotion to the EFL the following year. Yeovil then won League Two in their second year back in the fourth tier.

In 2005, Johnson took charge at Bristol City, the club where his son Lee is now the head coach at. During his time there, he guided his side to League One promotion before nearly doing the same the following year only to be beaten in the Championship play-off final by Hull City.

After five years with the Robins, Johnson moved to Peterborough and Northampton respectively before returning to Yeovil in 2012. The 63-year-old tasted more success with the Glovers after guiding them to promotion to the Championship for the first time in the club’s history. However, he left his role two years later.

Before moving to Torquay, Johnson was manager of Cheltenham Town in a spell which started in 2015 and ended in 2018. He was at the helm of a Robins side who became the first team relegated from the Football League to win the National League title at the first attempt since 1989 in 2018.

As a player, he represented Watford, Malmo FF, Soham Town Rangers, Newmarket Town and Cambridge United.

Last Time Out:

Barnet haven’t faced Torquay since they met in the Conference during the 2014/15 season.

The Bees, who lost 3-2 to the Gulls earlier that campaign, travelled to Plainmoor in December 2014 and beat them 2-1.

After Mauro Vilhete opened the scoring on 15 minutes, both sides had a man sent off with Bondz N’Gala receiving his marching orders for the Bees.

John Akinde then netted from the spot with five minutes of the first half remaining before Courtney Richards pulled one back for the hosts in second half stoppage time.

Top Scorer: Jamie Reid

With four goals to his name, Jamie Reid is currently Torquay’s highest scorer.

The forward, who joined the Gulls in 2017 after a loan spell, has scored three in his last four games, including one against Aldershot on Saturday.

On top form, Reid will undoubtedly be hoping to add to his tally this afternoon.

Connections:

Bees midfielder Dan Sparkes joined Torquay from Braintree in 2016 and scored six times in 36 appearances for the Gulls before making the switch to Dagenham a year later.

Manny Duku spent time on loan at Barnet from Cheltenham Town last season. The forward bagged three goals during his brief spell at The Hive London, including a brace against Hartlepool United last November.


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