League Two Betting: Torquay to disregard injury crisis

Martin Ling guided Torquay to fifth place last season

Ian Lamont picks out bets for four weekend League Two fixtures, foreseeing a strong showing from unbeaten Torquay...

"If Torquay can do this well with injury absentees, eighth favouritism for the title at 26.025/1 looks attractive."

Recommended Bet: Back Torquay to beat Plymouth @ 2.01/1

Accrington Stanley 2.9215/8 Bradford 2.68/5 Draw 3.55

Paul Cook and his side are defying the critics - including me - right now, just as they did under John Coleman. The formula seems to be the same: find hungry, young players unwanted at bigger clubs, mix them with a few more experienced hands and put them all on short-term contracts. Oh, and keep a family feel.

Take Benin international midfielder Romuald Boco, 27. He has been re-signed by Stanley, four years after leaving. He helped them into the Football League in the first place and - here's the real romance - scored League Two's smallest team's first goal on their return in 2006. He also scored last weekend in the astounding 3-0 win at Cheltenham. Where had he been playing in the intervening years? Sligo - under Cook, who played with him at Stanley.

The visiting Bantams, despite a concerted effort to turn their bulging fan base - the biggest in the division by a mile - into a happy one, still have problems. James Hanson is capable of scoring. Luke Oliver is a good defender to build around. But they have not won away from home this season. Stanley have won three out of four, but not pulled in crowds above 2,000. Goliath will find David hard to defeat this weekend.

Recommended Bet: Back Accrington while in form @ 2.9215/8

Torquay 2.01/1 Plymouth 4.3100/30 Draw 3.55

Both managers are hinting at loan market players before the weekend, but injury-hit Torquay should have enough to earn the victory, whoever Argyle can sign. Martin Ling has found options left, right and, well, centre.

Karl Baker, 22, has returned to the club after being released as a youngster and can deliver a dazzling cross from the left, the manager enthuses. Niall Thompson, an impressive right winger, has been forced into action on the right because of an "injury crisis" that preceded a 4-2 win over Rochdale.

Up front Rene Howe should start to blossom with Billy Bodin, now the latter has finally got a permanent move from Swindon. Aaron Downes, in from Chesterfield, feels he is forming a good partnership with Brian Saah at centre-back. If they can do this well with injury absentees, eighth favouritism for the title at 26.025/1 looks attractive.

Carl Fletcher's visitors are not without strengths - Alex McDonald up front, with Warren Feeney. Others come from surprising quarters. Curtis Nelson, a centre-back, was thrown on up front against Northampton. It worked. He scored the winner. But it smacked of desperate times.

Recommended Bet: Back Torquay to have the edge @ 2.01/1

Barnet 4.57/2 Gillingham 1.9310/11 Draw 3.711/4

Mad Dog Martin Allen will doubtless have something special lined up to prepare his troops for his return to Underhill, not least to take the attention off himself. He is sure to receive a white hot reception. He faces a club he has twice kept up in recent seasons, the last time in April before walking out in the summer to switch to Priestfield.

His Gills went top of the division after a draw with a Chesterfield side who have already sacked their manager and lost hot prospect Jordan Bowery to Aston Villa. Nonetheless, they ought to be a decent side. Allen is not satisfied, and nor he should be. Going top of the division now means nothing. Danny Kedwell will need all the skills that already make him the 17.5 favourite to be League Two top scorer. The visitors should have enough for victory.

Recommended Bet: Back Gillingham @ 1.9310/11

Rochdale 1.9720/21 Burton 4.216/5 Draw 3.613/5

John Coleman seems to be playing the "everyone is bigger than us" card that he constructed so well at Accrington. But there must be a reason he left - namely that he thinks the Dale have better long-term prospects. He must have felt he could have kept them up in League One last season, but must remember that they spent 40 years pottering along in League Two before rising.

Coleman is positive of progress, knowing there are clubs with bigger budgets, but declaring it is about what is in "players' hearts". He will settle for nothing less than victory, then, over a Brewers who will probably be happy to make tiny progress each year.

Recommended Bet: Back Rochdale @ 1.9720/21

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