MANAGER Martin Ling is poised to go into the loan transfer market next week as injuries and suspensions start to cut into his Torquay United squad.
Ling revealed that he has been doing the groundwork on at least one proposed signing, although it won't happen until after the Gulls go to Oxford United in League Two this Saturday.
United will run out at the Kassam Stadium without leading scorer Rene Howe and goalkeeper Michael Poke, as well as long-term casualties Ian Morris and Lloyd Macklin.
Howe is suspended after his fifth booking of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat at Barnet.
Poke injured his groin at Underhill and was replaced by Martin Rice early in the second half.
Also one caution away from a one-match ban is centre-back Aaron Downes.
And it's in the middle of defence where Ling's first priority may lie now.
He has suggested before that he would like to strengthen a roster that currently includes Downes, Brian Saah and rookie defender Kirtys McKenzie.
"Kirtys is a promising player, and I think he could go in for the odd game, but I do feel we are still a bit light there," said Ling.
The current loan 'window' closes on November 22 and reopens, along with permanent deals, on January 1.
Ryan Jarvis is poised to replace Howe and Rice will continue in goal at Oxford.
"Michael (Poke) was feeling his groin a bit before the game, and it got worse during the first half," revealed Ling.
"We tried to patch him up at half-time, but when I saw him hand over the kicking to Kevin Nicholson, I decided to take him off.
"It's what Martin Rice is there for and, hopefully, it will mean that Michael will be out for days rather than weeks."
Despite Tuesday's defeat, against a Barnet side which has now hauled itself off the bottom of the table with ten points out of 12, United are still in the final Play-Off place (7th).
But after Tuesday's results only five points covered seventh place down to 18th in what is shaping up as the most open division for years.
A spate of draws among the top teams in midweek left the table very much 'as you were'.