It's time to focus on the football again, as Wrexham look to bounce back from the disappointment of last Tuesday against last season's runners-up.
Long term injured players Luke Young Kwame Thomas, Reece Hall-Johnson and Ryan Austin are not ready to return, but Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds were both able to complete full training sessions on Thursday and are available for selection, subject to international clearance.
While Wrexham look to make amends for the defeat at Maidenhead, Torquay United enjoyed success in midweek, beating Kings Lynn 2-0 at home. However, they will be frustrated at their inconsistent form following the success of last season.
Their 4 wins this season have come against the sides which currently lie in 16th, 17th, 20th and 21st position in the table, and they've suffered heavy home defeats to Altrincham, Woking and Grimsby Town. While their home form has picked up, with 3 wins on the bounce, they've managed just 1 point from the last 12 on the road.
They will hope that Sinclair Armstrong, on loan from QPR, can carry on where he left off on Tuesday, as the Irish youth international capped a fine performance with a debut goal.
HEAD TO HEAD
We’ve struggled in recent years against Torquay United, winning just one of our last eight matches against them. Four wins in that period have allowed The Gulls to approach parity in this fixture, with 18 victories to our 20.
That sole recent win, in January 2018, was a good one though! Chris Holroyd struck a hat trick and Manny Smith got the other in a 4-0 win which is our biggest win over Torquay. The match was made even more memorable by a large contingent of 1.FC Magdeburg fans, over for their club’s tour of the North West, who came to check out their European opponents of 1978 and urged us on with raucous support!
Holroyd’s hat trick is the only one a Wrexham player has managed against The Gulls, and it puts him level with Barry Horne, Albert Kinsey, Louis Moult and Jim Steel as our top scorer against them.
A goal for Paul Mullin would put him in illustrious company: the great strikers of recent years, such as Kevin Russell, Steel, Gary Bennett, Andy Morrell and Moult all scored at home to Torquay, and even Juan Ugarte managed to. That’s remarkable because, in his incredible 2004-5 season, only two of his 26 goals were scored at home!
His 87th minute equaliser earned us a point against The Gulls in February 2005, and his only other goal at The Racecourse was in the infamous 5-1 defeat to Hartlepool.
Last season Torquay did the double over us for the third time (we’ve managed 3 as well), and the first since the 1987-8 season. We lost 3-1 at Plainmoor, and were beaten 1-0 at The Racecourse.
The home loss was particularly hard to take, as it came in the middle of a week which dealt a decisive blow to our promotion hopes. We faced 3 play-off rivals in the space of 8 days and, after an unlucky 1-0 loss at Notts County on Good Friday, looked to have emerged with a goalless draw against Torquay.
However, a fine finish in the 93rd minute by Sam Sherring earned The Gulls a win, and a shell-shocked Wrexham then capitulated 3-0 to Stockport to round off a costly triple-header.
Not so long ago, the boot was on the other foot. In 2015 we played Torquay five times and, after a goalless draw at Plainmoor, enjoyed four wins including an emphatic victory in the semi-final of the FA Trophy.
Our home record is good against United. We actually lost our first two games against them at The Racecourse, and three of our first four, but since then they’ve beaten us on our patch just twice in 20 attempts.
Capacity restrictions-despite the addition of a few extra seats!-mean we’ll fall just short of our biggest crowd against Torquay, achieved in March 1966 when 9,920 saw us lose 2-0.
However, our attendance statistics continue to be remarkable. This will be the first season in which Wrexham’s first 5 home league games) all attracted attendances in excess of 5,000 since 1980-81. Also, the last time four consecutive Wrexham home league games had attendances in excess of 8,000 was December 1979-January 1980.
Paul Mullin’s 275th league game.
Jordan Davies makes his 50th Wrexham appearance.
Tyler French makes the 50th league appearance of his career.