Chesterfield v Torquay United preview: Gary Johnson's newly-promoted Gulls have National League's top scorer in their ranks

Torquay United's Jamie Reid, pictured left, is the top scorer in the National League with seven goals.
Torquay United's Jamie Reid, pictured left, is the top scorer in the National League with seven goals.

Newly-promoted Torquay United will arrive at the Proact on Saturday with the National League’s top scorer in their ranks.

Jamie Reid has seven goals to his name already for The Gulls, who sit 8th in the table.

Gary Johnson led Torquay United to the National League South title last season.

Gary Johnson led Torquay United to the National League South title last season.

The 25-year-old topped the scoring charts in the National League South last season as Torquay were crowned champions.

Gary Johnson led them to promotion at the first time of asking after taking over as manager in September 2018 despite collecting just nine points from their first nine games.

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Reid’s clinical finishing will provide a huge threat to a leaky Chesterfield defence which is the third worst in the division.

The Spireites are in desperate need of a first win of the campaign to ease the pressure on them.

We asked Stuart James, digital sports editor for DevonLive, to give us the lowdown on Torquay and this is what he said...

What’s your assessment of Torquay United so far this season?

It has been a mixed bag of results and I think that underlines the step in quality from playing National League South, which Torquay were in last season.

It has not been a bad start, just inconsistent and I am sure when The Gulls and one or two players get to grips with a new league and things start to settle down, they will climb the table.

How would you sum up the job Gary Johnson has done in his time in charge?

Absolutely fantastic. Gary is well-loved by the Torquay fans, but he was always onto a winner really, taking over an underperforming team – a professional team as well – in the National League South.

He came in when things on and off the pitch were grim, but with his vast experience, contacts and knowledge, there was only really one way he was going to take them.

To be fair to Gary, he has delivered as everyone were looking to beat Torquay last season, being a big club in a small pond, so to speak.

He got the club promoted at the first attempt, as champions as well, and you feel the job is far from finished for him yet.

What can Chesterfield fans expect from Torquay in terms of style of play?

Johnson has always tried to get his teams to play attacking football and that has not changed since he has been at Plainmoor.

There are usually goals in United games so, without wanting to put the kiss of death on it, I would expect an entertaining game up at Chesterfield with Torquay certainly coming up looking to win.

Who are the key men for Torquay?

Jamie Reid was the top scorer in the National League South last season and he has made a good start to life in the National League with seven goals so far.

Armani Little has been fantastic after he signed for the club from Woking in the summer. He has banged in a couple of spectacular free kicks as well, certainly in pre-season, while Jake Andrews scored 12 goals from midfield last season and is a young midfielder that looks capable of bigger and better things.

What are the expectations for Torquay this season?

After last season, I think many fans were expecting Torquay to walk through the National League and reclaim their place back in the Football League, but football isn’t that easy. The teams Torquay have played so far have shown it won’t be easy and while the hope is for a play-off place at least, others would be happy for a solid campaign of consolidation and a nice cup run.”

How have Torquay's new signings settled in?

Generally, the new signings have settled in very well, although much of the squad remain from last season’s successful championship campaign. A few players signed in the summer were also at the club last season, which underlines Johnson’s faith in them, while one new signing – Ben Whitfield – marked his debut with a goal at Woking last Tuesday.