What is going on at Chester FC's opponents Torquay United?

Embattled Gulls boss calls for transparency from club's new owners ahead of Blues clash

Ryan Lloyd fires in the winner in Chester's 1-0 home victory over Torquay in October(Image: Terry Marland)

It was hard to feel sorry for Barrow AFC boss Ian Cox after he bemoaned the fact that he was down to the bare bones for Tuesday's controversial 2-1 win at Chester FC.

Not when you consider he has resources Chester manager Jon McCarthy, or his counterpart Kevin Nicholson of Saturday's hosts Torquay United, could only dream of.

McCarthy, already operating with one of the lowest budgets in the Vanarama National League, has not been helped by a series of injuries to key players this season.

But, arguably, Gulls player-boss Nicholson has had it worse.

He was one of only 17 fit and available players for his relegation-threatened side's vital 1-0 victory at Solihull Moors on Tuesday.

And, even then, the shine was taken off the victory after Dan Sparkes had to be stretchered off moments after he notched the 88th-minute goal that moved Torquay out of the drop spots.

Sparkes could yet be fit to faces a Blues side who, as McCarthy is keen to point out, are in a better position than their April Fools' Day opponents.

That would be welcome news to Gulls supporters who are not only worried about the club's future on the field, but off it too.

Riviera Stadium Limited's takeover of Torquay was ratified by the league at the start of this month.

But, despite Nicholson's shortage of options, no new signings were brought in before the transfer window for top-flight non-league clubs closed last Thursday.

The Gulls' sole director and interim chairman, Clarke Osborne, meanwhile, has confirmed his intention to buy the freehold of the club's Plainmoor home off the council.

Much of the talk, then, ahead of the crucial clash with Chester, has been about matters other than football.

"They've (the owners) got to show with their actions, not just words, they're in it for the real reasons," said Nicholson

"I think they need to come out and build a relationship with the fans because rumours are a dangerous thing.

"There's a huge amount of rumour and stuff with them (the owners) and I do think that they need to step in and have a chat with the fans and be more transparent, and let them know what's going on."

Against this backdrop of uncertainty, Torquay are battling for their survival.

The win over Solihull was only their second in their last 10 games. The Blues, though, have been in worse form over the same period, taking four fewer points (6).

But Chester do have a good recent record at Plainmoor, with their 2-0 defeat in last season's corresponding fixture, which brought about the departure of Steve Burr, their first loss at the home of the Gulls since 1997.

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