WITH on-loan Lloyd Macklin returning to Swindon Town and resident winger Wayne Carlisle about to undergo knee surgery, Torquay United manager Paul Buckle says he needs to add at least one signing before the March transfer deadline closes next week.
Despite quashing speculation over United's reported interest in Histon centre-forward Danny Wright, Buckle hinted strongly that he is still looking for another striker to aid the Gulls' fight to avoid relegation from League Two.
"I am looking all the time, and we have been trying to add since Ashley Barnes went back to Plymouth," said Buckle.
"We've lost Wayne Carlisle now, probably for six weeks.
"Lloyd Macklin is going back to Swindon, and Barnes was recalled.
"We've still got Kieran Charnock and (goalkeeper) Michael Poke out injured for another week or two.
"So on numbers alone, we're well down."
Of Swindon's decision to take Macklin back, Buckle said: "We've got Lloyd fit again and now he's going back, but that's the risk you always run with loan signings."
From being effectively 10 points above the relegation zone before Saturday's 3-2 home defeat by Lincoln City, United are only seven points clear now.
Grimsby Town's last-minute 3-2 home win over promotion chasing AFC Bournemouth has upped the 'ante' with nine games to go.
Cheltenham Town, who separate United and one-from-bottom Grimsby, also picked up a point in a 1-1 draw with Port Vale.
The Lincoln defeat ended United's six-game unbeaten run.
Captain Nicky Wroe equalised Davide Somma's early goal for the Imps.
But Cian Hughton, the son of Newcastle boss Chris Hughton, and on-loan Leeds striker Somma scored in the second half before Chris Zebroski narrowed the gap.
United laid siege to the City goal in the closing stages, but they could not stave off an eighth home defeat this season.
The result also left the Gulls with only two wins in 15 league games.
Frustrated over defensive mistakes which helped Lincoln to become only the second team to score three times at Plainmoor this season, Buckle said: "I feel we have thrown away our good run.
"We really gifted them their goals.
"We need to get back on again next week."
United travel to mid-table Morecambe on Saturday.
Although bottom club Darlington are doomed to Conference football next season — the Quakers sacked manager Steve Staunton yesterday — the second relegation spot is up for grabs again.
Grimsby's next match is away to leaders Rochdale at the weekend, when Cheltenham also travel to Macclesfield.
Hereford, who beat Bradford 2-0, Barnet — they won 2-1 at Darlington — and Lincoln all earned themselves precious breathing space on Saturday.
Macclesfield also play their game in hand at home to Rotherham tomorrow night.
Unless Torquay can put some more points on the board quickly, their trip to Grimsby on April 17 could turn into one of those all-or-nothing matches which the club seems to have specialised in over the years.