Alan Knill vows to keep Torquay United in top condition for dogfight
Manager Alan Knill is determined to keep his new-look Torquay United squad in top gear, even though they visibly dug deep, physically and mentally, to take five points from three unbeaten games over eight days to lift their hopes of avoiding relegation.
Delighted by the way his players held on to beat npower League Two play-off hopefuls Chesterfield 2-1 at Plainmoor on Tuesday, Knill said: “Sometimes you can allow people to believe they’re tired, and we’re trying not to do that.
“We’ve got fit athletes here, this is the most important time of the season and we’re all paid to play games and win them. Instead of toning the training down, we’re bringing it up,” he added.
The Chesterfield victory was United’s first in 12 games, and Knill hopes that it confirms that the Gulls have rediscovered their fighting spirit.
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“The two performances at Dagenham [2-2] with ten men and then Southend [1-1] really caused this result, because we went into the Chesterfield game really believing we could win,” he said.
“If you’re in a dogfight, you have to fight first. It has taken a bit of time, but I think we are finding a bit of form when we need to. We are committed to staying in this league, and it’s a massive prize.
“In our team there are league players who want to stay as league players, and we are going the right way about it,” the Torquay boss said. “But there are seven games to go, and, if we can perform like we have done in the last three, we’ll give York a good game on Saturday, and that’s all we’re asking.”
As for the Chesterfield win, Knill added: “The second half wasn’t pretty, but we had those three points and never let them go. For the first goal – well, Joss Labadie is supposed to be our sitting midfield player, and he’s got three goals now, which is fantastic.
“I’m not sure Rene Howe knows too much about his goal, but good for him.
“I hate 2-0 scorelines, because you know that one goal brings the opposition back into it. They did score, but, when it got a little edgy, the crowd lifted us and that’s what we need. It’ll be no different on Saturday.”
Knill is grateful for his new recruits. He added: “We’re so thankful to Notts County and Sheffield United for letting us have Joss Labadie and Jordan Chapell [on loan]. The deals we’ve got are unbelievable, especially for Jordan.
“We’re trying our best to get more players in, to make the squad that bit stronger.”
Knill is believed to be chasing another striker, and he has until the loan transfer market closes next Thursday to do it.
Winger Billy Bodin will be claimed by Wales Under-21 duty against York City, who will provide the opposition at Plainmoor on Saturday, but United will have central defender Aaron Downes back from a two-match suspension.