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Martin Ling got little joy from Torquay United's favourable comparison with Arsenal

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

Torquay United forward Billy Bodin is an injury doubt for the League Two encounter with Northampton

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Manager Martin Ling has derived little pleasure from his Torquay United team being favourably compared with Arsenal in the wake of the Gunners' shock defeat at Bradford City in the Capital One Cup this week.

Bantams captain Gary Jones said that the Gulls, who had defender Brian Saah sent off in the 35th minute, still gave City a harder game in their 1-0 League Two defeat at Valley Parade last Saturday than Arsenal did before losing on penalties there on Tuesday night.

It took Bradford until the 85th minute before substitute Alan Connell snatched their winner against United.

"I think Torquay gave us a tougher game," said Jones. "They defended really well against us."

Ling, who is preparing United for the visit of Northampton Town tomorrow, responded: "It's good press, and it's nice to have our name in the national papers.

"But we didn't win or get a result at Bradford, and I would rather have had the publicity for something we'd done ourselves.

"When you lose a game in the manner that we did at Bradford, after holding out for so long, it's disappointing.

"It would have been good to see how we might have done with 11 men on the pitch.

"With ten men a point would have been brilliant, but that one has passed us by and it's history now as far as we're concerned."

Ling revealed that forward Billy Bodin is a doubt to face Northampton, but he is confident that leading scorer Rene Howe will be fit. Bodin limped off with an ankle injury in the first half at Bradford, while Howe managed to last the 90 minutes despite twisting his right knee.

"Billy is 50-50 at the moment and, although Rene's knee is a bit swollen, he'll be fine," said Ling.

After Northampton, United go into back-to-back Devon derbies against Exeter City at home (December 22) and Plymouth Argyle away (Boxing Day), but Ling dismissed any suggestion that his team might look past the Cobblers too quickly.

"Exeter and Plymouth will be big games with big atmospheres, and we've now got five games coming up very quickly," he said.

"But all I'm thinking about is my team to play Northampton, and the players are fully focused on that."

United may have Saah suspended for the next three games after his red card at Bradford, but they do have captain and midfielder Lee Mansell and right-back Joe Oastler back after bans of their own.

The Plainmoor ticket office will be open for an extra hour (5-6pm) after the Northampton match for the sale of tickets for the Exeter derby.

The Grecians have only a limited number of their 1,500-ticket allocation left unsold.

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