Torquay are boosted by the return of central defender Mark Ellis as they prepare to welcome Darlington to Plainmoor.

Ellis missed last weekend's 4-2 defeat at Accrington due to a one-match suspension, but is now available to challenge Kieran Charnock and Chris Robertson for a starting role.

Charnock returned from a three-match ban of his own at Accrington and will hope to keep his place in the side.

The Gulls' backline could face further disruption over the festive period as Charnock and Robertson have each collected four yellow cards so far this season, leaving them one booking away from a suspension.

Following their disappointing defeat against Accrington, United will look to reproduce the level of performance that saw them thump Cheltenham 3-0 in their last home outing.

Darlington manager Steve Staunton could be without young midfielder Dan Groves.

Groves, who has made eight appearances for the Quakers this season, is struggling with an ankle injury and faces a struggle to prove his fitness.

Ian Miller will miss out once again with a hamstring strain. The centre-half missed last Saturday's home defeat to Bradford and Mark Bower is likely to continue as skipper in his absence.

Fellow defender Steve Foster, currently out of the side due to a contractual dispute, injured his foot in a behind-closed-doors friendly with York in midweek.

Chris Lumsden remains sidelined following his back operation and veteran striker Noel Whelan is not yet match fit following his hamstring injury.

Goalkeeper David Knight, Matt Plummer and James Bennett all left the Football League's basement side by mutual consent this week.

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