Injuries to Billy Bodin and Lee Mansell add more strain to Torquay United's weakened squad
Torquay United manager Martin Ling expects both skipper Lee Mansell and Billy Bodin to join the injury list which continues to eat into his squad in the middle of the Gulls' Christmas and New Year programme.
Carried off in stoppage-time in the 1-1 Boxing Day npower League Two draw against Plymouth Argyle, Mansell has had three stitches inserted in a knee wound.
Bodin had already been taken off in the 70th minute at Home Park, and Ling revealed that the striker has aggravated the ankle injury which he first sustained at Bradford City nearly three weeks ago.
It could mean that Ling will be without five casualties, plus suspended defender Brian Saah, when the Gulls set out for tomorrow's League Two game at Aldershot Town.
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"He has a hole in his knee that will need to be stitched," said Ling. "Saturday will be too early but there is no broken bones or internal damage.
"He has a severely cut knee and will be out for a while, but you fear the worst when someone goes off on a stretcher. It was a tackle you expect Lee to go in for and their player did the same.
"It was a fair challenge and Lee has come off the worst, but it was nice to see him walk back to the dressing room."
With Ryan Jarvis, Ian Morris and Lloyd Macklin all long-term absentees, it means that 20-year-old Ashley Yeoman could be in line for his senior start at the Recreation Ground.
Ling, who will look to enter the transfer market when the window reopens next week, said: "We've just about enough bodies left at the moment, so we've got to plug on."
Of 20-year-old Kingsbridge-born ex-scholar Yeoman, he said: "I thought Ashley did well when he went on at Plymouth. He has waited patiently for his chance, and he will come to the fore now. It looks like he will get his chance at Aldershot."
Ling has bemoaned the fact that several of United's injuries have been freak affairs.
"We feel we are doing things right around the training ground, but we seem to have had a lot of contact injuries or even freak ones, which haven't involved an opponent at all." The Mansell wound is the latest example of that.
Mansell threw himself into an important challenge to stop Plymouth's Conor Hourihane shooting for goal near the end of the Boxing Day derby.
The Aldershot game will complete Saah's three-match suspension, but it will be the last which fellow centre-back Aaron Downes must survive without a booking if he is to avoid a one-match ban.
Ling, meanwhile, felt the 1-1 draw was a fair scoreline at Home Park after seeing his side put under the cosh for long spells by the Pilgrims.
"They kept banging the door and there is no doubt our goalkeeper had more of the work to do, but the timing of the goal was obviously disappointing," Ling said. "We felt we were going to see it out but it was a good finish from the young lad [Tyler Harvey], and he had a decent game for them.
"It was a gale-force wind against us and we defended well in the first half. It was a lot easier going in the second half because we didn't have that wind in our face. They were the aggressors for most of the game, but it was probably the fair result in the end."
Torquay's League Two home game against Rotherham United has been rearranged for Tuesday, February 12, at Plainmoor. The Millers were originally scheduled to visit south Devon in the first week of January, but the fixture has had to be moved because of their involvement in the FA Cup third round.