Hargreaves is 'dreaming of the Premier League' – and backing Gulls to fly again
FORMER Gulls legend Chris Hargreaves has backed Torquay United to continue their upturn in results this season and be 'competitive' in League Two.
Hargreaves has risen to the rank of first-team coach at big-spending AFC Bournemouth, who are back in the Championship for the first time in 20 years.
While he admits he is dreaming of helping the Cherries to the Premier League, Hargreaves also said he still keeps in touch with his old team-mates and Plainmoor, and follows their form.
Acknowledging that Alan Knill's side have so far been unable to produce consistency in terms of results, Hargreaves also said that the squad at Plainmoor were more than capable of holding their own this season.
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"All managers look for consistency and from an outsiders view and from someone who is still a fan, you tend to think that they've turned a corner, but then they have a poor result," he said.
"It's always a worrying situation to be lower in the table, but as long as the things you are doing in training are correct, and the players are doing the right things and following your lead on a Saturday, then you're going to be ok.
"There's enough in the squad to compete, and that's what I expect from Torquay this season."
Hargreaves lives in Exeter but travels up to Dorset for coaching with the first-team at Dean Court.
But he said he makes time to keep up with events around his former club.
"I spoke to Kevin Nicholson last week and it's good to keep up with the club," he said. "So many fans from around the country go to the away games, Torquay is one of those clubs that all the players who go there have to be 100 per cent up for the fight.
"Because of where is it, you have to live there – you can't just nip off elsewhere."
Hargreaves also tipped his hat to the work of Geoff Harrop and Robbie Herrara with the youth set-up, and was well aware of the current crop of scholars coming through.
"The ideal scenario is having lads coming up through the youth ranks and pulling the shirt on," he said.
"There's no better fight than someone who comes from the area.
"That's something that they have definitely got to build on in the future, and I know that they are already doing that and have had the likes of Ashley Yeoman coming through."
As for his own career, Hargreaves used the word 'incredible' more than once to describe his ascent to a post many aspiring coaches would if not kill, then at least maim for.
He has been first-team coach since November, shortly after the return of prodigal sons Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall to the Goldsands Stadium.
"It's incredible, it really is," he said. "The dreamer in me thinks of the Premier League.
"When I first came here, I took the development team which I really enjoyed.
"I wanted those lads to be very quickly into the first team and we got some successes with that.
"When Jason [Tindall] and Eddie [Howe] returned to the club they asked me very quickly to be part of the first-team.
"We've got a lot of the same ideas of how we like the game played.
"I ended up surviving in the game by being a tigerish midfielder – and that served me well – but it's nice to watch a team play football."
Hargreaves has played an understated but vital role in the Cherries success in reaching the Championship – and one that he is continuing.
And it means he doesn't actually accompany the first team to any of their matches.
"It's been incredible going up with the run we had," he said.
"The way it worked is that we would do the coaching in the week with the players and then on a matchday I would go and watch the team we're playing the following week.
"You don't see certain things on a video analysis, you see so much more if you actually watch the game.
"So that was what I did for the last four months of the season and worked on a Saturday.
"You get a bit of a perspective.
"There's only so many times you can say 'well done' and 'good luck' to the players – and that's what Jason and Eddie are there for.
"So it's good to split up and get a different perspective."