Cup has been good to Atkins

Ian Atkins will have to settle for experience and muscle tonight, selecting from a squad close to being at the bare bones stage. The Gulls have no youth or reserve teams and a squad that numbers just 19.

Ian Atkins will have to settle for experience and muscle tonight, selecting from a squad close to being at the bare bones stage. The Gulls have no youth or reserve teams and a squad that numbers just 19.

And with three of those injured it means Atkins has little room for manoeuvre.

Left-back Steve Reed is out with a broken ankle, midfielder Matt Hewlett has a long-term back problem and skipper Craig Taylor (back) are all out, although the latter is close to a recall.

Atkins has had to mix and match with what he's got, and that means playing striker Lee Thorpe, who was on loan at Peterborough last season, at centre-half alongside Steve Woods.


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Lee Andrews starts at right-back and Stevland Angus, usually a central defender, starts at left-back. Behind them is Nathan Abbey, the much-travelled goalkeeper and brother of former Norwich striker Zema.

Atkins prefers 4-4-2 and fields Lee Mansell on the right, Martin Phillips on the left and a central midfield pairing of Kevin Hill and Darren Garner.

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Experienced Micky Evans is up front, alongside Jamie Ward, and it's the ex-Plymouth front man who could be key. At 33 he may be past his best, but at six foot tall and a little over 13 stone, he could be an unsettling influence - and will be aided and abetted by Thorpe, who is another big strong lad, and the muscle of Garner.

One player who won't feature is full-back Joe Kendrick, who impressed on trial but then found too many complications with the contract that Torquay offered and refused to sign.

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