Torquay United have signed defender Tom Aldred on loan from Colchester United until 2 January.
Aldred, 21, has yet to play for Colchester since joining the Essex side from Watford in the summer.
He never played for the Hornets after joining them from Carlisle United and spent time on loan at Stockport and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Aldred comes in after Gulls defender Brian Saah was ruled out with a groin injury for up to six weeks.
The 24-year-old suffered the problem in Torquay's 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle last week.
Saah's injury left Torquay with only two recognised centre-backs in Mark Ellis and Chris Robertson.
"He's got quite a severe tear within his groin and will be out for four to six weeks," Ling told BBC Radio Devon.
"We waited for the scan result and, if Brian was going to be 10 days to two weeks, we would have probably run with what we had, but I think it's too much of a gamble to take especially with the nucleus of games coming up."
Saah had been an ever-present in Ling's side since joining the club from Cambridge United in the summer, playing 21 games and scoring one goal.
"We've got to make sure we're covered in all areas over the Christmas period," Ling added.