TORQUAY United are set to face Boreham Wood at Plainmoor on Tuesday night without new skipper Josh Gowling.
The United captain suffered a knee injury during the Gulls’ 1-1 pre-season friendly draw at Plymouth Parkway, where he scored a late leveller, but recovered to play a key role in the opening day goal-less Vanarama National League draw against pre-season title favourites Tranmere Rovers at Plainmoor.
However the former Grimsby Town central defender, who joined United in the summer on a free, appeared to struggle at one point during that game and took no part in Tuesday night’s 3-2 defeat at Aldershot Town.
The 33-year-old was replaced by fit-again Myles Anderson in a like-for-like switch against the Shots.
Gulls boss Kevin Nicholson has confirmed Gowling was ruled out by a knee injury but said he should be available again within the next couple of weeks.
In Gowling’s absence vice-captain Luke Young will lead the team.
At Aldershot, playmaker Young scored a superb ninth minute free-kick leveller to make it 1-1 before Bobby-Joe Taylor restored the home side’s lead in the 48th minute.
Recalled Gulls striker Jamie Reid – one of four changes to the yellows’ opening day starting XI – then had a headed effort controversially flagged offside midway through the second half.
Shaun Okojie headed Shots 3-1 up on 87 minutes before a last-minute goal for new United striker Jon- Paul Pittman made it 3-2.
Post-match Nicholson said: ‘I don’t think we played well enough with the ball to come out talking about how “we should’ve won” but what we did do was earn the right to get level with 25 minutes left to play.
‘A decision that we cannot affect meant we could not see what we could have done with a level playing field. As the old adage says goals change games.
‘I think my lads could have really caved in after that but they stayed true to themselves and despite a controversial goal against us to make it 3-1, they still managed to fight on and give themselves a chance.’
Nicholson is already buoyed by the character he has seen from his new-look side after the first two games of the new season.
‘As long as we can take those positives to Gateshead (yesterday) and use any leftover frustration as positive fuel then I see us kicking on again and having a positive season,’ said the Gulls boss.
‘There is a lot more to come from this group with the ball but the character, work rate, being tough-to- beat and attitude have shone through in the first two games against teams that will occupy the top four or five spots come May.’
The Gulls gaffer also praised United’s self-styled ‘Yellow Army’ for their support at Aldershot.
‘A big shout-out to our fans who came in great numbers and great voice again and I think they left positive about what they had seen and the potential this group has,’ said Nicholson.
‘It’s a long season with many highs and lows to come but if we stick to our mindset, affect only what we can and not worry about anything else then we are on the right road.’
United’s home fixture against yesterday’s opposition has been switched following a request from Gateshead.
The Gulls scheduled pre-Christmas clash against the Heed at Plainmoor – due to take place on Saturday, December 23 – has now been brought forward two weeks.
The National League return fixture will now take place at the home of the Gulls on Tuesday December, 12 (7.45 pm).
Meanwhile, Torquay have signed winger Andy Haworth on non-contract terms.
Haworth, 28, learnt his trade at Blackburn Rovers and his first loan spell was with yesterday’s opponents, Gateshead FC.
He went on to make appearances for Bury before a move to the Scottish Premier League with Falkirk. Spells with Rochdale, Notts County, and Tamworth followed before a trip down south to Cheltenham in 2014.
Haworth returned north in 2015 on loan to Barrow before joining permanently. He went on to make over 50 appearances for the Bluebirds.
A short spell at Macclesfield Town in 2017 came to an end in the summer.