Have you recovered from last Saturday yet? Phil Parkinson's side need to have recuperated from a memorable weekend to be ready for the long trip down to Devon as the champions round off the season.
The 3-1 win over Boreham Wood last Saturday clinched the title, of course, so the main issue at stake for Wrexham is a chance to extend our record points total to 113. There were no obvious injury issues arising from the match, so it will be interesting to see whether Parkinson continues with a similar team or gives starts to some of the players who have waited patiently on the sidelines in recent weeks.
Having relegated Yeovil Town a week and a half ago, sadly the same fate could await our hosts. Torquay United have been involved in a remarkable attempt to escape from relegation, having seemed doomed for much of the season. Five consecutive wins at the start of the month breathed hope into what looked like a lost cause, but a crushing 5-1 loss at Chesterfield abruptly ended that run, and an 89th minute penalty equaliser for Altrincham last Saturday means only a couple of surprising results can save United now.
A win in this match would put The Gulls level with Maidenhead or York if either of them lose, but the shift in goal difference required to survive should that scenario unfol is unlikely. It's perfectly feasible that York could ship some goals away to the remarkable Notts County side which pushed us so hard, but surely a 14-goal turnaround is not going to happen. Maidenhead face a difficult trip to a Gateshead side whose strong finish to the season - they've won 7 of their last 11 games and reached the FA Trophy Final- has taken them well clear of danger. However, they'll expect to be able to defend a 7-goal advantage should they finish level on points with Torquay.
The Gulls dipped into the bottom four in October and have remained there ever since. At the end of March they were 9 points short of safety, but consecutive wins over Boreham Wood, Scunthorpe United, Eastleigh, Maidenhead United and York City suddenly made survival a real possibility. The cruel conclusion to Saturday's match made that a long shot, and a sense of disappointed realism has naturally descended on the club.
Manager Gary Johnson told BBC Radio Devon that this match is 'a chance to thank the fans and apologize for us being in the bottom-four'.
“It’s sad, but the club’s strong, it’s gone down before and it can come back up. We have had disappointment and we’ll try and get over it because that’s what you’re in football to do.
“You have good days and bad days, unfortunately we didn’t get enough results earlier on to support this team that we’ve got at the moment.
"We are gutted for the club, the players and our supporters and my staff. We've got our team together in the last seven or eight games. We used the last day of the transfer window to bring in some good players. You couldn't get them earlier. It was a shame that we didn't have longer with that group of players.
Although 2 crucial points were dropped, Johnson was proud of his players once more, after a game which seemed to revolve around skipper Asa Hall.
"We came from 1-0 down, and I thought the boys put in a fantastic stint to go 2-1 up. Asa has been our Captain Fantastic and he scored two great goals, and obviously he was unlucky to give the penalty away, and that killed us. "They had nothing to lose at 2-1, and we were trying to get the third one for the goal-difference.
"I don't think it's mathematically over, but of course we've got a top team in Wrexham in the last game. It is what it is. We've just got to make sure that we have our disappointment and we try and get over it, because that's what you're in football to do."
The club is strong. It's gone down before, and it can come back up.
- Gary Johnson, Torquay United manager.
Hall has been a consistent performer in the heart of the action for Torquay, and there's another player whose performances have belied the side's league position up front. Aaron Jarvis has certainly stepped up to the plate in Torquay's hour of need. He became the first Gulls player to score two hat tricks in a season when he fired three past York City a fortnight ago, to add to his treble against Aldershot in November: between them, he and Paul Mullin account for nearly a third of all hat tricks in the National League this season. Jarvis has fired in 15 goals this season, which is even more impressive when you realise that he didn't get his first until October!
LAST TIME WE MET
24/9/22 Wrexham 6 (Davies 11, Mullin 29, Palmer 42, Hayden 72, Dalby 80, Forde 90) Torquay United 0
Wrexham Howard, Forde, Hayden, Tozer, Cleworth, Mendy (McFadzean 23), Young, Jones, Davies, Mullin (Lee 75’, Palmer (Dalby 79) Unused subs: Watson, Tunnicliffe
Torquay United Halstead, Crowe, Donnellan (Tomlinson 76), Marshall, Omar, Martin, Hall, Smith (McGavin 75), Evans, Goodwin, Jarvis Unused subs: Lovett, Lapslie, Wyatt
Bookings: Jarvis 78’
Attendance: 9,970 (Away: 155)
HEAD TO HEAD
We walloped The Gulls 6-0 earlier in the season, but they have the upper hand when we make the long trip south.
We enjoyed a memorable 3-0 win there in 2015 which sent us through to the final of the FA Trophy, with Louis Moult scoring first and Kieran Morris adding two more, and won 1-0 at Plainmoor the following season through a late Mark Carrington goal, but they’re our only wins at Torquay in our last 16 games there.
Before then our most recent win was secured in April 1990 through an Andy Thackeray goal as we successfully battled against relegation to the fifth tier.
Last season we only took one point from United. They pooped the party when Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds attended their first match at The Racecourse by equalising after Harry Lennon's early opener and earning a draw, and went one better in the return match, winning 1-0 at Plainmoor.
The season before, we were hoping to mount a challenge for the play-offs, while Torquay were top of the table. We fell 2-0 behind by the 17th minute, and although Theo Vassell swiftly pulled one back, we ended up losing 3-1. A couple of key decisions by the referee didn't go our way, but in truth that didn't affect the outcome as the better side won.
October 2019 saw us spurn a number of chances before United struck the only goal in the early stages of the second half.
In September 2017 we travelled south full of confidence as 3 consecutive wins had seen us into 3rd place, but a badly wind-affected match ended in a drab 0-0 draw.
We took an early lead through a beautifully-taken Gerry McDonagh goal in November 2016, and held that advantage until the 88th minute when United equalised through a corner.There was still time for late drama, though, as Paul Rutherford cut in from the right and curled a brilliant goal home, only for it to be disallowed for a border-line offside decision as Shaun Harrad was adjudged to be in the goalkeeper's line of vision.
We didn't realise it at the time, but we received a tantalising taste of things to come when Luke Young scored a remarkable 84th minute winner against us for Torquay in October 2014.
Luke Young's 200th league game for Wrexham.
James Jones' 100th Wrexham match.
Max Cleworth's 50th league match for Wrexham.