Former Exeter City striker Richard Logan has revealed that he will not be joining Torquay United after sustaining an untimely calf injury while on trial at the League Two strugglers. Torquay manager Martin Ling had taken Logan on loan on 24 January as part of his search for back-up for top-scorer Rene Howe, but the hunt for a new striker has become even more pressing this week following Howe’s two-match suspension for reaching 10 yellow cards in the 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
Beginning his career as a trainee with Ipswich Town in 1998, Logan was loaned to Torquay during the 2001-02 season, netting four times in 16 league games. More loan spells throughout the Football League followed until Logan settled down first with Peterborough United and then Exeter; his five-year stay with the Grecians included scoring against local rivals United in the 2007-08 Conference play-offs, and bagging the goal that sealed Exeter’s promotion to League One a year later.
However, any nostalgia between club and player was lost when Exeter released Logan and several of his team-mates following their relegation to the fourth tier in 2011-12. A move to League Two rivals Wycombe Wanderers quickly followed, but the forward lasted just 10 scoreless games before he was on the move again. Equally brief stop-gap spells with non-league Dorchester and Bury Town took Logan up to the January transfer window, and the 31-year-old used his contacts at United – including goalkeeper Martin Rice, a former team-mate at Exeter – to negotiate a trial at Plainmoor with a view to a permanent move.
Ling suggested that Logan could be the perfect fit for the Gulls, who were looking for a cheap striking reinforcement to replace Howe in the event of injury or suspension to the club’s sole targetman; he told BBC Sport, “[Logan] is now available and we’re just having a little look to see what he brings…He is a player out there doing nothing at the moment. He is 31 and had an effect with Exeter last year.”
Although the January transfer window slammed shut without any new arrivals at Plainmoor, Ling remained keen to bolster his threadbare strikeforce, which currently contains just three forwards: Howe, Ryan Jarvis and rookie pro Ashley Yeoman. A combination of Ling’s illness – he has missed Torquay’s last two games against Exeter and Cheltenham through a virus, and will not be on the sidelines for Saturday’s fixture against Fleetwood – and the club’s location hampered a possible signing: earlier this week chairman Simon Baker revealed, “We were actually rebuffed on our first enquiry this week because the player in question is not keen on relocating to the south-west.”
The forward Baker refers to has since been speculated to be Bournemouth frontman Jayden Stockley, who chose a loan to Conference outfit Woking over a trip to Devon. That decision seemed to open the door once more to Logan, who could have provided a like-for-like replacement for Howe in the home games against Fleetwood and Rotherham. However, with a one-month contract seemingly on the table, Logan was forced to limp out of training on two occasions this week due to a calf injury, which also ruled him out of Tuesday’s reserve fixture at Plymouth Argyle. The striker confirmed his injury on his Twitter account, adding that he was “gutted” to be missing out on the one-month “prove yourself” deal.
Logan now fully expects Torquay to sign another striker on loan in his place; local newspaper the Herald Express believes that the club have shortlisted ex-Bristol City forward John Akinde and out-of-favour Southend attacker Elliot Benyon as possible transfer targets. Akinde was released by Crawley Town this week, having scored just once in 40 games in two years at the League One club. Benyon, 25, is well-known to Torquay fans having spent four years at Plainmoor, averaging a goal every three games. His impressive work-rate and form warranted a move to Swindon Town in January 2011, but was soon loaned to Wycombe before joining Southend in last year’s winter transfer window. However, Benyon has made just 11 appearances in over a year at the Roots Hall club, and is likely to be open to loan offers having fallen behind the likes of Britt Assombalonga, Gavin Tomlin, Freddy Eastwood and Barry Corr in manager Paul Sturrock’s pecking order of strikers.