Knill pleased with rapid progress made by fleet-footed Chapell
Most of the eight new senior players signed by Alan Knill during the summer have made good starts to their Torquay United careers, but the one who probably has most ticks by his name, as we move into the third month of the season, is a young winger who has exceeded expectations.
Torquay fans liked the look of Jordan Chapell during a loan spell at Plainmoor near the end of last season. It was cut short when Sheffield United recalled him in the wake of a managerial change at Bramall Lane.
Knill eventually persuaded the new Blades' boss, David Weir, to let him have Chapell on a free transfer, in return for a share of any profit that Torquay might make on him in the future. So far, the deal looks like it could turn a good one for all three parties.
Chapell, 22 earlier this month, is Torquay's early-season top scorer, with four goals from the club's first eight league games.
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A consolation effort in the 3-1 home defeat by Oxford United may have been a close-range tap-in, although he did well to get there, but all the other three have been finishes of real aplomb.
Two in the second half sunk Northampton Town away 2-1 and the shot that rounded off the 4-2 win over Cheltenham Town at Plainmoor last Saturday was an effort that any top-class striker would have been proud of. But Knill stresses that Chapell is "a work in progress".
"I set some targets at the start of the season, and he's well on course, although I never expected him to score four goals by now," he said. "Wingers expend a lot of energy in bursts, and their first job is to get crosses in, but they have to try and get in the box when they can, and Jordan is good at that.
"If he can score goals on top of delivering good crosses, then he really will be in business. We signed Chappie and Courtney Cameron, both young wingers, in the summer, and you know it's a work in progress. As long as they keep getting better, that's the important thing."
There have been days when Chapell's crossing has been a touch erratic, but he usually errs on the over-hit side, which says something for his character. "Where Jordan is from is quite a tough area of Sheffield," says Knill, who lived in the 'steel city' before moving to Torbay.
"When you're not the biggest, you have to be aggressive – not throwing punches, but in the way you play."
So far, there are few fears about Chapell on that score.