Knill fears the worst as his beaten Gulls wait for news on stricken Downes
A SCAN today will reveal the full extent of the knee damage that Torquay United defender Aaron Downes sustained in training last week, but manager Alan Knill does not expect good news and he will continue to scan the loan market for a possible replacement before York City come to Plainmoor this Saturday.
"It doesn't look good for Aaron, and we have already tried to get somebody in," said Knill after the 2-1 defeat at Newport County at the weekend.
With young centre-back Kirtys McKenzie currently coming to terms with his diabetes condition and 17-year-old Jake Hutchings too raw to consider for League Two action – Hutchings is likely to play in tonight's Under-21 Premier League Cup-tie at Exeter City – United suddenly find themselves thin on the ground in the heart of their defence.
Knill confirmed: "We've only got one centre-half in the club, so we need a replacement if the finances will allow it.
"It felt like the worst Thursday of all time last week. Krystian Pearce was taken ill and Aaron Downes was hurt, and we spent Thursday night and Friday trying to put a team together.
"Krystian wasn't well, but he said he was OK to play, and we need his sort at the club.
"In fact, I thought everybody stood up well today.
"Just a seven or eight-minute spell in the first half, where we conceded two goals, has cost us. And the first was a real soft one.
"It came from a set-piece, and if we'd had Aaron Downes in the team, we probably head it clear. But I thought we were outstanding in the second half.
"We said at half-time that, if we could get the next goal, there's a game on.
"We got it, and from then on I thought we were going to win maybe, and at least not lose.
"We had opportunities to get that second goal, and we didn't look like a team that can't win games.
"I thought we had a real positive mindset, and if we keep creating, we will score goals."
Knill introduced new loan signing Ade Azeez for a goalscoring debut, and he said: "Jordan Chapell took a knock on his ankle early on, and it gave us an opportunity to get Ade on.
"Our crowd didn't know about the injury to Jordan, but the next minute Ade Azeez put the ball in the net. So it looks like a great decision, doesn't it?
"Ade looks like he'll give us something – he's got real pace and it was a very good finish so soon after going on."
Knill added that his frustration was compounded by Billy Bodin's booking for a second-half 'dive'. "Billy was going round his man, and it's a blatant penalty for me," he said.
County manager Justin Edinburgh said: "The important thing today was the result, because we haven't won in two home games.
"You have to be resilient in this league and sustain pressure.
"They finished the game with five recognised strikers on the pitch, and they went for it.
"But credit to us, we had to see it through and we did that."