Heart to heart proves productive as Howe maintains form and discipline
He is scoring goals, he is playing well and, crucially, he is staying out of disciplinary trouble, and Torquay United manager Martin Ling is encouraging his in-form centre-forward Rene Howe to keep all three aspects going as the Gulls take on Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park today.
Howe's seven goals from the first ten games of the season includes the late winner which crowned United's storming fightback in the midweek 4-3 victory over Aldershot Town at Plainmoor.
That also represented the fifth game in which Howe, who is already on three cautions, avoided any more bookings.
"Rene is massively important to us, the same as he was last year," said Ling.
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He tackled Howe on his disciplinary record – he was sent off twice and yellow-carded ten times last season – after a caution against Plymouth Argyle earlier this month.
"I can live with a player getting booked, especially someone in Rene's position," said Ling, "but I can't live with two or three of the stupid bookings which he's already picked up.
"I had a one-to-one conversation with him after his last one, which he may not have had a couple of years ago, and we talked things through.
"Rene understands, and he's been making a real effort to stay out of trouble."
Howe will once again lead United's attack against managerless Wycombe, but Ling was quick to point out that Tuesday's memorable recovery included a goal from a player who has yet to make his mark at Plainmoor – Ryan Jarvis.
"Everyone will talk about young Ashley Yeoman's first League goal, and that was great for him, but Ryan Jarvis' contribution went under the radar," said Ling.
"Ryan has had a difficult time convincing some of our fans, but he's come on and helped to change things in a couple of games of late."
Ling released Taiwo Atieno and extended former Norwich, Leyton Orient and Walsall forward Jarvis' short-term contract in the summer.
"When we lost Rene Howe for half-a-dozen games last season, Tai did come in and do a good job for us," he said.
"Will Ryan prove better than Tai over the course of this season? Over the first ten games, maybe 'no', but after 46 games I think the answer will be 'yes'."
Jarvis could even start up front with Howe today, as United try to chase down the early promotion pacesetters.
"I've got a few decisions to make, on who partners Rene and on what system we play," said Ling.
The Gulls' boss was also quick to stress: "I looked at these two games, Aldershot and Wycombe, and thought 'you've got a chance of six points' , the same as the fans probably did.
"But we were 3-0 down after 46 minutes against Aldershot, a team we were supposed to beat. So we can't take anyone or anything lightly. If we do that, we'll be asking for trouble. Wycombe have had a difficult start, but they have a new caretaker manager who wants the job.
"Gareth Ainsworth is a quality player and a quality person, and he'll be doing everything he can to get them going."
Wycombe, one from bottom after a 1-1 home draw with Plymouth Argyle in midweek, have not won for eight games.
Ainsworth has not been slow to give graduates of Wycombe's productive youth scheme a chance, the latest being teenage winger Josh Scowen and forward Matt McClure.
The Wanderers' squad is also sprinkled with loan signings as well as two recognisable faces to Westcountry fans: strikers Richard Logan (Exeter) and former United promotion-winner Jo Kuffour well.
Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Oastler, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Craig, Thompson, Howe, Bodin, Stevens, Jarvis, Leadbitter, Cruise, Yeoman, Macklin, McKenzie, Baker, Lathrope, Artemi.
Doubtful: Halpin (ankle), Easton (hamstring).
Unavailable: Morris (achilles tendon).