Following last weekend’s defeat at Bath City, Torquay boss Gary Johnson will be keen for his United side to bounce straight back with three points on Saturday. However, they will facing an Oxford City side also looking for a win to re-ignite their own promotion chances.
Who’s the boss?
Having made over 100 appearances for Oxford City as a player, Mark Jones returned to the club as a member of their coaching staff in 2014, prior to being appointed as first team manager two years later. Having lead the side to respectable mid-table finish in his first full season in charge, Mark made history last season by becoming the first City manager to record an FA Cup win over Football League opposition, care of a 1-0 away win over Colchester United.
A UEFA A-licensed coach, Jones previously held coaching roles at Stevenage and Watford, following a playing career representing the likes of Aylesbury United, Harrow Borough, and Thame United.
How are they doing?
As their mid-table position suggests, Oxford’s season so far has been plagued by inconsistency with 11 wins and 11 defeats from 26 games. Boss Mark Jones will be keen for his men to recapture the form that earned him the NLS Manager of the Month award for December following five wins and one draw, including a 4-0 romp at home to Truro City. The new year has not been so kind, with the 1-0 reverse at home to Gloucester last week being The Hoops’ third in a row, and leaving them in 13th position. They remain, though, just five points outside the play-off places.
Players to watch
Congolese frontman Kabongo Tshimanga has been stunning form this season, hitting 17 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the club’s 3-3 FA Cup draw away to League Tranmere in November. Quick and powerful, the ex MK Dons and Boston forward has won many admirers since joining the club in the summer, and looks destined to work his way back up the league ladder.
Last week they strengthened their squad further with the signing of highly-rated Bath City defender Ryan Case, with the full-back making his debut in the defeat against Gloucester.
Two faces that Gulls fans will instantly recognise are Bobson Bawling and Joe Oastler. Former Woking and Crawley winger Bawling arrived at Plainmoor last summer and enjoyed a brief spell with the club before moving to Marsh Lane in October. Utility man Oastler meanwhile spent nearly three years at Torquay, and was a key member of the team that reached the League 2 play-offs in successive seasons under Paul Buckle and Martin Ling. By the time he left to join Aldershot in August 2013, he had clocked up 122 appearances and scored one goal.
The two sides have only met once in league competition, with Rob Sinclair’s 31st minute strike proving the difference between the two sides back in August.
National League South | Torquay United Vs Oxford City | 26/01/18 | Plainmoor | To order in advance click here.