Head coach Gary Owers is under mounting pressure to make the key signings which could galvanise Torquay United’s hopes of pulling off a footballing miracle and staying in the National League.

In the wake of a 4-0 defeat at Wrexham, Owers has to bolster his defence, as well as his shot-shy attack, because Icelandic defender Axel Oscar Andresson has now returned to Reading after his loan deal expired. Andresson’s departure follows Alex Davey’s decision to join NL rivals Boreham Wood rather than sign the deal he had verbally agreed with Owers last week.

With Myles Anderson still on loan at relegation rivals Chester FC and Josh Gowling injured, the admirably consistent Sean McGinty and Norwich City loanee Michee Efete are now United’s only available central defenders. That situation must improve before the bottom-of-the-table Gulls tackle Eastleigh at Plainmoor on Saturday and then Bromley seven days later in two home games which are shaping up as ‘must win’ affairs.

Four points from Eastleigh and Bromley could be an absolute minimum, and United have little chance of doing it unless they play better than they have done in a run of six games without a win, plus a 4-0 FA Trophy thumping at home to Maidstone United. Saturday’s defeat leaves Torquay effectively 12 points adrift of safety with 18 games to go, and plenty of the teams they must overtake are playing better than they are.

“I have to find a team very quickly that is competitive,” said Owers after the Wrexham defeat, “and, to be quite frank, shows a lot more desire than today.

“Everyone is working tirelessly. We are not standing back watching it all unfold before our eyes. It is heartbreaking.

“The major part of rebuilding any squad is done in the summer, and I didn’t do that. The team didn’t win for 13 games this season.”

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