Torquay United to swoop for a loan striker
NOW WITHOUT suspended leading scorer Rene Howe for the next two matches, Torquay United are trying to sign a striker in time for Saturday's home game against Fleetwood Town.
Former Bristol City and Crawley targetman John Akinde and AFC Bournemouth reserve centre-forward Jayden Stockley are both possibilities as a 'like-for-like' replacement for big man Howe.
But United may also consider a move for their former striker Elliot Benyon, who is currently out of favour at League Two rivals Southend United.
The loan transfer 'window' does not reopen until tomorrow.
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As well as running the team in manager Martin Ling's absence through sickness, assistant Shaun Taylor is now trying to finalise a loan move.
Taylor confirmed: "Martin had done some work, because we knew that Rene was going to get his tenth booking sometime.
"We are a team here, we have forwards at the club like Ryan Jarvis and Ashley Yeoman to consider, and we have managed in this situation before.
"There have been calls made to several clubs, but we've got to be careful that, if we do bring someone in, it's the right person for the right reasons."
Howe picked up his tenth yellow card before scoring his 14th goal of the season at Cheltenham last weekend.
He will only be banned for the Fleetwood and Rotherham games and will be available for next Saturday's trip to Rochdale.
Akinde, 23, whom United first faced when he was at Ebbsfleet in the Conference five years ago, is currently a free agent after being released by League One Crawley.
Stockley, 19, is a product of Bournemouth's Academy and has had successful loan spells at Accrington Stanley last season and Woking this term.
Benyon, 25, is hardly a Howe 'look-a-like', but a move for him would be intriguing.
He has never managed to reproduce the form of his 46 goals in three-and-a-half years at Plainmoor before his £125,000 sale to Swindon Town in January 2011.
After spells with Swindon and Wycombe, he is one of several strikers at Southend and, despite several substitute appearances, has not started for the Shrimpers since a 1-1 draw at Plymouth Argyle on September 29.
But Benyon was always a popular player at Plainmoor, and he would almost certainly jump at the chance to play here again.
United may have to wait on a fitness-test for right-back Joe Oastler before they face ambitious Fleetwood on Saturday.
Oastler limped off with recurring ankle trouble at Cheltenham.
The Gulls also held winger Danny Stevens back from Tuesday's 2-0 Reserve defeat at Plymouth, in case Billy Bodin was hurt in last night's Wales Under-21 international against Iceland in Llanelli.
February looks like it will be a vital month for the club.
Four of the next six games are at home – Fleetwood, Rotherham, Port Vale, Wycombe – with trips to Rochdale and Aldershot thrown in.