Knill wants more from his attack as Gulls go in search of Fleetwood win
Five points from the first five games of the season, with just one defeat, prompts manager Alan Knill to say: "We've done quite well, when you look at the teams we've played", but Torquay United now face an even more difficult month in September, starting at Fleetwood Town today.
Only fast starters Oxford United have beaten the Gulls in League Two so far, while they have defeated Northampton Town away and had to settle for draws with AFC Wimbledon, Morecambe and Hartlepool United.
Over the next four Saturdays, United travel to Fleetwood, Rochdale and Newport County, with one home game against Cheltenham Town.
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"Fleetwood will be a test for us, and a good benchmark of where we stand," said Knill.
"The teams we are playing, you probably expect to be up there this season.
"Although I do believe that it's a more competitive league this year, with plenty of teams able to be in contention.
"I believe we can go and beat Fleetwood, and I will be disappointed if we don't."
Knill did not try to hide his dissatisfaction with the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat to Portsmouth, albeit on penalties after a 0-0 draw. He made four changes against Pompey, but stressed: "I don't think the changes made the difference – in fact, one or two of the players we brought in did OK.
"We have got some young players and the team is still bonding, if you like, but a bit of inconsistency is not all down to that.
"One of the departments I wasn't disappointed with on Tuesday was our defence, but I wanted more attacking play and better attacking play.
"You put that behind you now and move on."
United are still without winger Billy Bodin, who is on international duty with Wales' Under-21 squad, and it will be interesting to see who Knill picks on the left side.
The natural option is left-footer Courtney Cameron, but he could also switch Jordan Chapell from right to left and still have promising teenager Danny Sullivan and the pacy Niall Thompson available.
Left-back Kevin Nicholson, midfield skipper Lee Mansell and striker Karl Hawley were all rested in midweek, although Mansell and Hawley went on from the bench for the penalty shoot-out.
Goalkeeper Michael Poke is back in full training after a thigh tear, but he may be held back until next Tuesday's reserve game against Plymouth Argyle at Plainmoor.
The strength of Fleetwood's squad is such that their manager Graham Alexander was able to make several eye-catching changes, promoting players who would walk into most other first teams, for this week's 2-1 win at League One Tranmere Rovers in the JPT.
Former Bury, Rotherham and Southend centre-half Richard Creswell was one of the men recalled in the wake of last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon.
Fleetwood have started well, defeating Plymouth Argyle 2-0 at Home Park for one of their victories, but they have lost 3-2 at home to Burton Albion and then away to the Dons, and they will want to push on over the next few weeks.
A key man, rested at Tranmere but likely to return today, is ex-Bristol Rovers and Notts County midfielder Jeff Hughes, one of eight senior signings that Alexander made during a big-spending summer.
Torquay United (from): Rice, C Thompson; Tonge, Pearce, Downes, Nicholson, Chapell, Mansell, Harding, Cameron, Hawley, Ball, Benyon, Cruise, Lathrope, Sullivan, McKenzie, Craig, N Thompson, Yeoman, Hutchings.
Unavailable: Poke (lacks match practice), Bodin (international duty).