Ball eager to open his account for Gulls after two blanks
Elliot Benyon may have to nurse his sore head at home on the English Riviera this weekend, but Torquay United’s new loan signing Callum Ball believes his other strike partner Karl Hawley can help him to opening his scoring account, starting against Morecambe at the Globe Arena today.
Ball, from Derby County, has seen a goal disallowed for offside, hit the post and had a clutch of other near-misses in his two games for the Gulls so far – last Saturday’s 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon and Tuesday’s 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Swindon Town.
Benyon misses out today, after a brain scan revealed some bruising from his painful knock-out at the County Ground, so Ball and 31-year-old Hawley – who were both signed only last Thursday – look sure to start up front.
“It’s great to have someone like Karl with you,” said Ball, 20, who revealed that local rivals Exeter City had also inquired about him before his move to Plainmoor.
“Everywhere I’ve been, at Derby and Coventry last season, I’ve had an experienced player around – they talk to you and help you through, and Karl is already doing that.
“I’ve gone close to scoring in the first two games, and hopefully I can get a goal for the club soon. We’ve certainly got plenty of wingers, and crosses into the box are what you want as a striker.
“Wimbledon and Swindon were the first two 90 minutes I’ve played this season – we started back early at Derby, but we were only playing
45 minutes in the friendlies.
“My match-fitness is coming now, but mentally to get that first goal in the league is important.”
United manager Alan Knill was encouraged by the way Ball and Hawley started working together at Swindon, saying: “I’m certain we will score goals, especially once we are all up the same levels.”
It is, of course, only early days, and United may carry the “work in progress” tag with them for a while yet.
Knill says: “Getting a first away win can be massive, but it doesn’t really matter where it comes. Once you get that first win, things change – you feel like you’re up and running.
“But we’ve already been stressing to the players that the first thing is to be hard to beat and if you don’t lose, that’s important.”
The sums may be small-change compared with the multi-millions washing around the Premier League, but Knill stresses: “League Two is no different to any other league – finances dictate league positions, or they do a lot of the time.
“Bradford and Gillingham went up last season, as bigger clubs in this division. There are still some big clubs in this league now, and we all know who the big spenders are.
“But there are always clubs fighting to be surprise packets, and we like to think we’re one of those.”
Of Morecambe, Knill said: “We went to Morecambe and won at the end of last season, but that means little now.
“They beat Wolves in the week, and good luck to them. I watched the game on TV, and Morecambe were good.
“We have to plan for Morecambe at their best, but if we’re at our best, it will be a good game.”
The Shrimps boast a powerful and highly experienced defence and midfield, apart from one young player who might just turn out to be the best of the lot.
Welshman Ryan Williams, snapped up from Chester last year, scored the League Cup winner against Wolves on Tuesday night with a sumptuous free-kick, and he has the potential to go higher than League Two.
Torquay United (from): Rice, C Thompson; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson, Chapell, Mansell, Harding, Bodin, Hawley, Ball, Cameron, Lathrope, Cruise, Yeoman, Sullivan, Craig, N Thompson, McKenzie, Hutchings.
Unavailable: Benyon (concussion), Poke (thigh strain).