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Martin Ling seeks silver lining in dark cloud as Torquay United come to terms with Cup shock

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 06, 2012

Torquay United manager Martin Ling

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A 'CV' that includes Ajax, Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Inter, Spurs and Holland reads just a little better than anything that Harrogate Town had to offer, but Torquay United must succeed against an Edgar Davids-inspired Barnet in npower League Two tonight where they failed against the part-time side in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Davids, brought in to assist head coach Mark Robson last month, watched bottom-of-the-table Barnet lose 4-1 to Plymouth Argyle in his first match 'in charge', but he played in the next three League matches as the Underhill side put a 14-match winless run behind them with seven points out of nine.

The 39-year-old midfielder, who had been playing street soccer and managing a Sunday side, was only a substitute as Barnet lost 2-0 to Oxford United in the FA Cup last Saturday, but he may well return tonight (8pm kick-off).

Torquay boss Martin Ling did not actually come out with the 'we're concentrating on the League now' line, but United, currently in the final play-off place, face both Barnet and Oxford United away this Saturday as they look to put the Harrogate embarrassment behind them.

Ling took his players through a video-assisted inquest into the Cup exit at training yesterday.

"There's no way anyone can feel any better about going out of the Cup, but we showed the players the game and there were some positives.

"We did have 18 shots or headers on Saturday, and the video also shows that Rene Howe's disallowed goal was two yards onside," said Ling.

"We reminded the players that we're six points and eight places better off now than we were in the League this time last year. We are going into a period now that was very productive for us last season.

"Until Harrogate, we'd won five, drawn three and lost none in the League at home, but we know that if we want to be successful this season we need to get a real away record starting to happen.

"I feel that the next two away games are both winnable, and Saturday's performance allows me possibly to have a little jiggle with the side."

Ling revealed that both Billy Bodin and Danny Leadbitter emerged relatively unscathed from a minor road accident on their way to work yesterday.

"I expect them both to be OK, but it certainly shook the pair of them up," he said. "We have no new injury worries, and I'll be taking 20 players up to Barnet."

Of Davids, Ling added: "It looks like he has been more effective as a player than as a coach at the moment.

"Mark Robson was my apprentice at Exeter City [in the 1980s], and I don't know what he thought about Davids being brought in.

"You have to take your hat off to a supreme talent that was, but, at 39, age might fetch him down to our level a bit, and we'll be trying not to give him the time to express the talents that he undoubtedly has.

"He's certainly lifted Barnet in recent games, and they are a different proposition from before he went there."

Barnet went into the Oxford tie without forwards Jon Nurse, Jake Hyde, Ricky Holmes and John Oster for a variety of reasons, and they may well restore at least one of them to assist the former Fulham striker Collins John in attack.

Torquay's defeat to Harrogate has allowed them to rearrange a League Two match for the weekend of the FA Cup second round.

The Gulls will now play Dagenham & Redbridge at Plainmoor on Saturday, December 1 (3pm). The fixture was originally scheduled for Tuesday, November 20.

Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Leadbitter, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Mansell, Craig, Lathrope, Bodin, Howe, Stevens, Oastler, Easton, Jarvis, Cruise, Thompson, Yeoman, Halpin, McKenzie.

Unavailable: Morris (Achilles tendon), Macklin (broken metatarsal bone).

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