Torquay v Rochdale preview

Torquay v Rochdale preview

Published Aug. 24, 2012 9:15 a.m. ET

Torquay boss Martin Ling may hand a league debut to teenager Niall Thompson when his side host Rochdale.

The 18-year-old impressed Ling in pre-season and the midfielder may taste first-team experience sooner than he expected as the Gulls' injury crisis deepens.

Winger Lloyd Macklin is expected to be sidelined for at least a month after suffering a reoccurrence of a knee injury.

Damon Lathrope is also expected to miss out whilst Danny Stevens is still struggling with a thigh problem.


Saul Halpin remains sidelined after visiting a specialist about his troublesome ankle injury.

Regarding Thompson, Ling told BBC Sport: "It may be the case that he's got to play the 90 minutes. In pre-season he did nothing wrong, whenever he went on the pitch he certainly excites, I look at him this year as an impact sub."

John Coleman is set to select from an unchanged squad as Rochdale chase their first win of the season.

Academy products Luke Watson (knee) and Reece Gray (broken leg) remain on the sidelines along with goalkeeper Matt Edwards, who has a wrist injury.

But a lack of concerns coming out of back-to-back league draws against Northampton and Chesterfield means Coleman could name an unchanged side for the third successive game.

If he does, the former Accrington boss still demands improvement as he is smarting from Jack Lester's injury time leveller for the Spireites in midweek.

"They had a couple of cheap free-kicks which had added to the pressure but we've got to able to deal with it better than that and we've got to defend them better," Coleman told Dale's official website.

"We should be winning that game. Yeah, we've kicked five off the line on the night, but anyone who was at the game will have seen we've dominated possession for long periods and at times we could have walked the ball into the net."