Lee Mansell will try to use a three-match suspension to get back to the best form of his seven-year career with Torquay United.
The Gulls’ captain and longest-serving player must watch from the sidelines until Northampton Town come to Plainmoor on December 15, after picking up a straight red card for a tackle on Southend United striker Britt Assombalonga in last weekend’s 4-1 npower League Two home defeat.
Because United have no midweek games coming up, Mansell’s break will be longer than it might otherwise have been. But he is determined to put it to good use, especially as he admits he has failed to hit the heights of his 13-goal 2011-2012 season.
He has scored only once so far this season.
“There will be no lounging around, and it may be that I needed a little break,” said midfielder Mansell, who’s played more than 300 games for Torquay.
“Since I’ve been here, we’ve had four play-off seasons, which is four 11-month seasons.
“Form-wise, I haven’t been reaching the standards of last year over the last couple of weeks, and that can be down to a number of factors.
“We have new players in the team, and a lot of my goals last year were created by Eunan O’Kane, so his departure has been a particularly big loss for me.
“People may be judging me on goals, and perhaps expecting me to get another 13 this season, but that’s not going to happen.
“The only positive is the chance to have a small break and just work hard on my fitness. I’m hoping to refresh and get myself mentally right to go again.”
While Mansell, 30, misses games at York City this Saturday, Dagenham and Redbridge at home and Bradford City away, defender Brian Saah will wear the captain’s armband.
“That will be a great honour for him,” said Mansell, “and me being out gives someone else the opportunity to step up to the plate.”
New loan signing Angus MacDonald, back from Reading for his second spell with the Gulls, is due to start training with United today.
Paperwork at the Reading end was completed yesterday, and the 20-year-old former England Under-19 centre-back will add his signature to United’s end of the deal this morning.