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Rene Howe can prove point against former Gulls favourite Bayo Akinfenwa

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 15, 2012


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There are plenty of other sub-plots to choose from, but any self-respecting publicist would have little hesitation regarding the best line for today's meeting of Torquay United and Northampton Town at Plainmoor: it has got to be the Rene v Bayo Show.

They probably will not bump into each other too often – the impact should be felt in Paignton if they do – but two of the most powerful centre forwards in League Two take top billing.

The fact that Adebayo Akinfenwa had one of those "if only" seasons at United in 2004-2005 and then left a bit sharpish, complete with 16 goals and the player of the year trophy under his arm, has always divided Gulls fans.

They recognised how effective he could be, once he was fully fit, but were dismayed at the manner of his departure after United were relegated from League One.

He has seldom let the grass grow under his feet since then, moving on to Swansea, Millwall, Northampton, Gillingham and Northampton again.

Akinfenwa, now 30, certainly falls into the "barn door" category, but terrace jibes have always slid easily off his broad shoulders.

He has always been able to point to the "bottom line" – 124 career goals and, importantly, 71 in 137 starts during his two spells for the Cobblers. He has already hit 14 this season.

Be all that as it may, there are few if any Torquay supporters who would swap Bayo for the man who leads their attack now.

Rene Howe loses nothing in stature against Akinfenwa, he is certainly more mobile than Northampton's targetman and his work on the ball is at least as good. Although he has scored ten goals this season, United's targetman has not hit the net for eight games.

There could surely be no better chance for Howe to prove a point, and rediscover his goal touch, than in opposition to one of his rivals for the title of best centre forward in the division.

Throw in the fact that Howe might well have joined Northampton a couple of times earlier in his career, but did not, and you have all the ingredients for an intriguing afternoon.

Roll up, roll up for that Rene-Bayo Show…

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