Following last Saturday’s home defeat to Weston-super-Mare, United are back on the road as they travel to promotion rivals Billericay Town.
Who’s the boss?
Harry Wheeler returned to the Town hot-seat in January, just five months after being axed only a few weeks into the new season. Having won the Isthmian Premier League title, Isthmian League Cup and Essex Senior Cup last season, his return delighted the Billericay faithful. An unhappy spell with Maidstone in-between his two spells at New Lodge did nothing to diminish his enthusiasm for the game, and Wheeler has since reinvigorated a club that threatened to be falling out of promotion contention.
How are they doing?
Billericay are currently in 4th place, with 58 points from 33 games- eight behind the Gulls at the National League South summit. Having started the season in style with 10 points from 4 games seeing them top the table, a poor run of form during December saw the club drop to eighth, signalling the departure of boss Dean Brennan. With 10 points from their last 5 games, they are now one of the form teams of the division, however last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat away to East Thurrock will have surprised many.
Players to watch
Adam Coombes has done a sterling job of cushioning the blow of Jake Robinson’s departure, with the former Chelsea starlet overtaking the ex-Gull’s tally with his 14th league goal of the season last Saturday. At 6ft 1in tall, he’s a physical presence in the Town forward line, and after his sending off at Plainmoor in November, he will be looking to make more of an impact this time out. The Essex side pulled off a real transfer coup last summer with the signing of cultured midfielder Sam Deering. Having gained experience at a higher level with the likes of Oxford United, Barnet, Newport and Cheltenham, he is one of the key men in the Billericay engine room, and recently scored the winner in the 3-2 win over Truro City.
Former Norwich youngster Michee Efete won many admirers at Plainmoor with his committed displays in the Torquay backline last season. After making 26 National league appearances for United, Efete had brief spells with Maidstone and Bath prior to joining Ricay last month. Paul Rooney made six appearances for Torquay during the 2016/17, scoring in his last appearance before returning to Millwall. The young centre-back has since moved on to Colchester, and recently had his loan spell with Town extended until the end of the season.
The two sides have only met once before in league action, as they fought out a dramatic 2-2 draw at Plainmoor back in November. Goals from Jean-Yves Koue Niate and Saikou Janneh put United 2-0 up at the break, before two second-half strikes from Adam Cunnington drew Billericay level. Town were reduced to ten men with nineteen minutes left after Coombes was shown red, but held on for a point.
National League South | Billericay Town FC Vs Torquay United | New Lodge,Blunts Wall Road,Essex CM12 9SA | 09/03/19 | Tickets for this match can be purchased in advance, further details can be found here | Travel Club will be running a coach for supporters wishing to make the journey, further details can be found here