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Match Previews

TORQUAY MATCH PREVIEW

19 October 2012

Bristol Rovers entertain Torquay United at the Mem this weekend looking to build after securing their first home victory in their last home game against Northampton.

With the monkey finally off their back Rovers can look to build a home record similar to the one they achieved after Mark McGhee’s arrival last season.

Meanwhile ex-Gas player Rene Howe will be looking to score his tenth goal of the season. He notched his ninth in the 3-1 home victory over Accrington in their last game.

Howe made it six in six league starts, scoring from the spot, just five minutes into the game, after Michael Liddle's handball gave the advantage to the Devon team.

Stanley were level on 65 minutes from Padraig Amond's header, Billy Bodin headed fellow Welshman Nathan Craig's cross home two minutes later. A header at the far post from Lee Mansell secured the points for the Gulls.

Talking after the game, the Gull’s Boss, Martin Ling said, "I think it was a thoroughly deserved three points. We should have won by a lot more, we had six one-on-ones with their goalkeeper and we missed them all.

"I didn't see the penalty, but I spoke to the bench and they all said 'yeah'. When Rene steps up there he's coolness personified, you know he's going to score.

"I think overall it was an eight out of ten performance and we had eight or nine players out there performing at their maximum and if we do that we are a test for anyone in this league."

Ling went on to praise the contribution of Rene Howe as he would equal the club record for goals in consecutive league games if he scores on Saturday.

"He's been a real figurehead for us and long may it continue. You could look at the possibility of 30 goals this season, if you've got nine after 12 games, then why not?

"It isn't just his goals, the central striker needs to be able to retain the ball and fetch other players into play and he's done that as well,"

Howe himself noted, "From about five-in-five people have been mentioning that I could equal the record. I'd much prefer it if I could break the record and score eight-in-eight and have my name up there," he said.

Looking at United’s record in Bristol, overall it is not a good one with 8 wins, 7 draws and 22 victories to Rovers from the 37 matches played there. You need to go back over 30 years to find anything greater than a single goal difference between the teams in Bristol.

The Gull’s won last season’s tie at the Mem, shocking Paul Buckle’s confident Gas team with a first up 2-1 win. This season the Devon team have a very tight defence in away games with just 5 goals conceded but equally only 4 scored in their 6 games.

Over the last 6 games Rovers and the Gulls are equally matched with 9 points gained.

Martin Ling has expressed his belief that his team face three key games over the next week. Currently they are just a point off the Play-Offs and only four away from the automatic promotion places.

After Saturday it's back to Plainmoor for home games against leaders Gillingham on Tuesday night and Morecambe next Saturday.

"I think we're coming to Crunch Time," said Ling, "The next three will take us onto 15 games, which I always think is the point where you can start to see where you stand.

"There's nine points available in the space of eight days, which obviously makes the next week important. Bristol Rovers away, a derby for both clubs, speaks for itself, Gillingham are top of the league and Morecambe, although they are in mid-table, have a very good away record.

"I will have some selection posers before we go to Bristol, and that's just what I wanted to have coming out of the Yeovil game. I now know that I will be naming seven subs who, when I look round at them on the bench, can all do the job.

"Now we brush ourselves down and look ahead to Bristol Rovers. This is a big spell coming up for us."

Mark McGhee will be having very similar thoughts about his team’s progress as they head into the depths of winter. Everything points to Saturday’s game being a very close affair.

Written by Gerry Prewett.

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