Man­ager of the Month John­son aim­ing to take Gulls into sec­ond round

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Sport - BY DAVID THOMAS

Armed with the Na­tional League South Man­ager of the Month award, Gary John­son will try to ex­tend his un­beaten start as the Gulls’ boss to ten games – and boost their FA Cup earn­ings un­der him to a cool £85,000 – when divi­sional ri­vals Wok­ing come to Plain­moor to­day.

A club that ap­peared to have lost its con­fi­dence and di­rec­tion has had both re­stored since John­son took over in mid-Septem­ber, and he struck ex­actly that note when he said in the build-up to the first round tie: “I am hop­ing it’s one club to­gether at the mo­ment, where we are all think­ing the same thoughts, and not too many neg­a­tive ones.”

John­son ded­i­cated the Oc­to­ber award to ‘ev­ery­one in­volved with the club dur­ing this time’ and now, of course, he has to try and make sure he doesn’t fall vic­tim to that old Man­ager of the Month ‘curse’, which has of­ten seemed to end the runs of form which earned it for other re­cip­i­ents.

For the record, United beat East­bourne Bor­ough (4-2), Weald­stone (3-0) and drew with We­ston-su­per-Mare (2-2) all away in the league and knocked Brightlingsea Re­gent (3-0) and Winch­ester City (4-1) out of the Cup dur­ing Oc­to­ber.

John­son is hop­ing that a cou­ple of his in­jured play­ers will be re­stored to fit­ness, al­though he re­fused to say which ones. On-loan Bris­tol City loan duo Jake An­drews (knee) and Opi Ed­wards (thigh) would cer­tainly be wel­comed back into the at­tack by Gulls fans.

Def­i­nitely out is mid­fielder Samir Nabi, who is sus­pended for this match af­ter his ap­peal against a ‘hand­ball’ send­ing-off at We­ston re­cently was re­jected by the FA.

Also ab­sent dur­ing a loan at Oxford City for the past month, for­ward Bob­son Bawl­ing has now joined City per­ma­nently af­ter hav­ing his United con­tract can­celled by mu­tual con­sent.

With seven sub­sti­tutes al­lowed, 16-year-old striker Olaf Koszela and maybe one other Academy star­let are poised to be named on the bench for a sec­ond suc­ces­sive match.

The Gulls and the Cards meet six weeks af­ter they drew 2-2 at Plain­moor in John­son’s first home match.

Wok­ing led 2-0 at the in­ter­val be­fore two Jamie Reid goals pegged them back, and John­son re­called: “In the first half they looked like Barcelona and in the sec­ond half we did.

“Since then they have made a few changes to their squad, and we cer­tainly have.

“I think it will be a good match. They have some de­cent foot­ballers, and I think we have as well.

“I al­ways look at what the op­po­si­tion would think [about a draw] – maybe they would be a bit more dis­ap­pointed than us, be­cause they’ve got to travel and we haven’t. There’s no league points, but there’s pres­sure be­cause you both want to go through, and ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with the club wants to go as far as we can.”

Since the league meet­ing, Wok­ing have added at least two in­flu­en­tial play­ers, one whom United know very well.

Cen­tre-half Ben Ger­ring is Torquay born-and­bred and played for his home­town club be­fore mov­ing on to Truro, Bil­ler­icay and now Wok­ing, while young Not­ting­ham For­est loa­nee Toby Edser has proved a lively fig­ure in mid­field re­cently.

Ex­pe­ri­enced cen­tre-for­ward Jake Hyde gave United plenty of prob­lems in the first meet­ing, and scored a classy goal, and it’s prob­a­bly true to say that both teams are cur­rently stronger in at­tack than they are in de­fence.

The ref­eree is De­clan Bourne from Not­ting­hamshire.

Mean­while, United’s young­sters will travel to Maiden­head United in the sec­ond round of the FA Youth Cup on Mon­day night.

Win there and there is the prize of a home tie against Not­ting­ham For­est in the third round of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Torquay man­ager Gary John­son was named Na­tional League South Man­ager of the Month for Oc­to­ber af­ter an un­beaten start to his time at Plain­moor

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