Who's playing?

Torquay United v Chester FC – Vanarama National League

When and where?

Saturday, February 13 (3pm) at the Launa Windows Stadium, Torquay (TQ1 3PS).

Any team news?

Luke George is a likely absentee, possibly for up to three weeks, after pulling his hamstring in the midweek FA Trophy exit at FC Halifax Town, while Ben Heneghan is a major doubt after being forced off in the same game with an ankle injury following a heavy challenge from ex-Chester midfielder Kingsley James.

Sam Hughes, employed as an emergency centre-back on Wednesday, is a doubt after picking up a bang to the head and losing a tooth in the defeat, but Ryan Astles will come back into contention for the trip to Devon after missing the trip to the Shay due to him being cup-tied.

Another player expected to be welcomed back into the fold is big striker James Alabi. He missed Wednesday's trip to Halifax after featuring for Grimsby Town in the competition earlier in the season and could push for a starting berth alongside Ross Hannah in attack.

What has Jon McCarthy had to say about it?

The Blues assistant manager said: "Torquay is another big game for us.

"Whatever we say at the moment it sounds like excuses, so I can't really win. I understand how it works.

"There is something missing that isn't allowing us to get what we need. We'll find a way. We're very frustrated and working very hard and we need to find the answer."

Torquay United player-manager Kevin Nicholson
Torquay United player-manager Kevin Nicholson

Tell me about Torquay United...

It has been a season of woe so far for Gulls fans, with the club lying bottom of the National League table and facing the very real prospect of dropping into the National League South.

Kevin Nicholson took over the reins at the Devon side in September following the departure of Paul Cox, but financial troubles have dogged the club in recent times and, forced to put together a youthful and inexperienced side on a shoestring budget, Nicholson has been unable to arrest their slide to the foot of the table.

The Gulls have won just once since October in the league, with that victory coming in suprising fashion as they registered a 4-1 home success over promotion-chasing big-spenders Forest Green on Boxing Day. But any hopes that the triumph over Rovers would act as a catalyst for a resurgence have been dashed and Torquay host Chester this weekend on the back of four straight league defeats.

What is their recent form like?


Torquay keeper Dan Lavercombe can only watch on as Ross Hannah's free kick flies into the net to make it 3-0
Torquay keeper Dan Lavercombe can only watch on as Ross Hannah's free kick flies into the net to make it 3-0

What happened the last time the two sides met?

Ross Hannah became the first Chester FC player to score a hat-trick in almost two years as the Blues cantered to a 4-1 success over the struggling Gulls on December 19.

Hannah opened the scoring after just 15 seconds at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium, latching on to a Danny Hattersley pass.

Ryan Higgins fired home a left-footed effort on 38 minutes before Hannah added his second just two minutes later.

Andre Wright reduced the arrears on 68 minutes but any hope of a Torquay fightback was extinguished four minutes later when Hannah grabbed his third and Chester's fourth to help them secure their biggest win of the season.

Hannah's treble ensured he was the first player since Matty Taylor, who netted three in a 4-3 success at Tamworth in February 2014, to be handed the match ball for the Blues.

His opener after just 15 seconds was also credited with being one of the fastest goals ever scored by a Chester player.

What are the match odds (Sky Bet)?

Torquay 7/4, Chester 6/4, Draw 9/4.

Is it going to snow?

No! While a touch of the white stuff has been predicted for northern regions, Devon is likely to have to contend with some heavy rain on Saturday morning, although things are expected to brighten up around Torquay come kick-off time. Temperatures of 6°C are expected.