Gary Johnson’s unbeaten Torquay United side will be facing another team in red-hot form on Saturday, when they make the trip to Twerton Park to face Bath City in front of what is expected to be City’s largest crowd for 40 years.
Who’s the boss?
Ex Bristol Rovers and Wolves youth coach Jerry Gill was appointed as manager in October 2017, following the departure of Gary Owers to Plainmoor. As a player, Gill spent much of the early part of his career in non-league football, including a six-year spell at Bath. Having established himself as one of the best full-backs outside the league, Gill made a late entrance to the Football League, at the age of 27. Gill then spent more than a decade in the league, representing Birmingham City, Northampton and Cheltenham.
How are they doing?
Bath have followed up a solid first season under boss Gill and are currently riding high in 3rd place, Two places and seven points behind the Gulls with 47 points from 26 games. The festive period has seen the club hit a real purple patch of form, with five wins and two draws in their last seven games – The highlight of which was a 5-0 thrashing of local rivals Chippenham Town in front of a crowd of 1,727.
Players to watch
The Romans’ impressive season has so far been built upon an excellent defensive record, with just 21 goals conceded, a record only bettered by Torquay themselves. The emerging talents of Jack Batten and ex-Gloucester centre-half Robbie Cundy have been a particular feature of the a strong backline. At the other end, Ross Stearn and Ryan Brunt have been the primary danger men, bagging 20 goals between them in all competitions. Ex-Plymouth and Exeter frontman Brunt is, at the age of 25, hoping to rebuild his career after a couple of injury-plagued seasons and has already proved himself to be a handful for any defence at this level. Whilst the Yellow Army have been treated to the displays of their Bristol City loan quartet, the Romans’ faithful have also benefitted from borrowing youngsters Freddie Hinds and Joe Morton from the Championship club. Hinds had a spell under Johnson at Cheltenham last season, whilst Morton, who has made 21 appearances so far, is hoping to shake off an ankle knock that kept him out of the win over East Thurrock last Saturday (1-0).
Torquay fans will be quick to notice a number of familiar faces in the City squad, in particular former Gulls Ryan Clarke and Kevin Amankwaah. Goalkeeper Ryan Clarke made ten league appearances last season, whilst defender Kevin Amankwaah, now 36, made six league appearances for United on loan from Bristol City during the 2002/03 season.
Paul Buckle’s Torquay United travelled to Bath City in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup back in 2007/08 and encountered a stubborn City side, before running out 2-0 victors with goals from Lee Phillips and Danny Stevens. City missed a golden opportunity to level the scores from the penalty sport, with Martin Rice saving Lewis Hogg’s effort.
More recently United came out 1-0 winners at Plainmoor this season, Liam Davis scoring the all important goal.
Please note that the entire allocation of tickets for Torquay fans have SOLD OUT.
Supporters who have already purchased tickets can still book their place on the coach via the Travel Club. Further details can be found here.