Branston buoyed by loanees
Torquay's Guy Branston believes Jake Robinson and Craig Stanley could help the Gulls into the play-offs.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 08/02/11 5:26pm
Torquay defender Guy Branston believes loan signings Jake Robinson and Craig Stanley could help the Gulls swoop into the League Two play-offs.
On deadline day, Torquay were forced to sell their 15-goal top scorer Elliot Benyon to Swindon and midfielder Nicky Wroe to Shrewsbury.
But manager Paul Buckle acted swiftly to sign striker Robinson on loan from Shrewsbury until the end of the season while securing the services of Morecambe midfielder Stanley for a month.
Branston feels they are the ideal replacements and the loan duo helped Torquay to a 2-0 victory against Stockport on Saturday - their first win in five - which put the Gulls within six points of the play-off places.
"I've played against Craig a few times," Branston told skysports.com. "He's a hustle and bustle midfielder and reminds me of a player I used to play with at Rotherham, Stewart Talbot, who could also pass very well, get around the pitch and make tackles.
"And Jake caused us no end of problems at Shrewsbury's ground earlier in the season. How he's not playing for Shrewsbury now, I don't know, but their loss is our gain.
"We've taken him on and he looks a real handful. He's a lively character, more mobile than Elliot but probably not as prolific, so you lose some things with Elliot's game but gain things with Jake's.
"It's important we give him the confidence he deserves because he's a good player."
Robinson, 24, had banged in eight goals in 20 League Two starts for Shrewsbury this season, while Stanley, 27, has been a pivotal figure in Morecambe's midfield since helping them into League Two in 2007.
Boss Buckle has put his faith in a host of young players released from Premier League academies and Branston, 32, reckons the loan pair could be the last piece in the jigsaw for Torquay to mount a promotion challenge this season.
"The gaffer's brought in right and I'm really happy with the deals he's done," he said.
"He's replaced two young lads with established League Two players and last year we wouldn't have attracted them.
"Now we have attracted them down here and I'm surprised we've done it, but for them to come shows how good the club is doing. That's the calibre of players we need at this football club because we can't always play with kids.
"The gaffer's pulling his hair out sometimes because he's asking kids to be consistent but you don't always get that with kids. Consistency comes with experience and age.
"We needed that to steady the ship and I think these two could be the lads to help us realise a play-off push."
Torquay have three games in hand on seventh-placed Gillingham and will be confident of closing the six-point gap as they face relegation-threatened Barnet and Burton in their next two games.
"We're in the position where we can nick into the play-offs if we knuckle down a bit more," added veteran centre-half Branston.
"I think we've got enough in the squad already, to be honest. I just think we need more experience to get the young lads to galvanise and I'm backing the gaffer with it. He wanted those two players and he was able to go and get them.
"We've got enough quality lads with loads of energy, enthusiasm and adrenaline. You look at them and say 'go on then, kick on', and it's not really happening.
"But I think these two are what we need to group together, and if we do that, I'm pretty sure we'll get into the play-offs."