Torquay United’s new groundsman, Chris Ralph, has brushed aside any fears that falling temperatures and overnight frosts might threaten the Gulls’ home game against Dagenham & Redbridge tomorrow.
Torquay are the only senior Devon club in action tomorrow – they rearranged the Dagenham game because both clubs are out of this weekend’s FA Cup Second Round – and United officials are hoping that they might attract some ‘floating’ fans from across the county.
More frosts are expected as winter begins to bite for the first time, and much of the Plainmoor pitch is now in the shadow of United’s imposing new ‘Bristow’s Bench’ grandstand.
The club does have a set of frost sheets ready in case.
But Ralph, who joined the Gulls just over a month ago after several years as head greenkeeper at Newton Abbot’s Hele Park Golf Centre, is not worried.
“What we’re getting at the moment is only what you’d call a leaf frost. It may be white in the mornings, but the grass is still growing because it hasn’t been cold enough for long enough for any frost to get into the soil yet,” he said.
“It’s also an afternoon kick-off against Dagenham, which helps, and I’ll be cutting and preparing the pitch as normal. It’ll be fine.”
United manager Martin Ling plans to assess the form and fitness of trialist Eric Odhiambo for at least another week before deciding whether to make an offer to the former Leicester City and Inverness CT forward.
Odhiambo, 23, returned home from Turkey recently after a dispute with the Denizlispor club, where he’s been playing for the last 18 months.
“Eric has looked sharp and bright over the first couple of days he’s been with us,” said Ling.
“I liked him previously, and I just want to have a good look at him over the next ten days.
“He can play wide right, which is a position we’ve talked about a lot this season, or as a striker.”