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Grounded Gulls waiting for lift-off

23 October 2013

By Tony Leighton

Six defeats in eight Sky Bet League 2 matches have left beleaguered Torquay United hanging perilously close to the relegation zone, but the tide will turn for the seaside club says their ever-positive manager Alan Knill.

Former Rotherham United, Bury and Scunthorpe United boss Knill, who was handed the Plainmoor managerial reins during the close season after being in caretaker charge since February, has seen his team win only once in their last nine games to slide within one place and one point of the bottom two.

But fortune has not been on the Gulls' side, reckoned Knill as he contemplated their latest defeat, 2-0 against Burton Albion on Tuesday evening.

The manager told football-league.co.uk: "We've been close in nearly all of the games and the belief is still there, but we need a bit of luck to go our way.

"Burton's first goal came when the ball hit our post and bounced to one of their players instead of ours - and that was just after we'd had a good attempt saved. Unfortunately that's just the way it's going for us at the moment.

"But then we gave away a poor second goal and that effectively killed the game. We competed against Burton though, we generally dealt well with them and there wasn't much in it against what I think is one of the best teams in League 2."

Second-half goals by winger Jimmy Phillips and striker Adam McGurk gave Burton a victory that lifted them to eighth in the table but left Knill's Gulls with what could be a tough winter in the lower reaches of the division.

But Knill said: "If we were definitely getting outplayed and not competing every time we went out on to the pitch then it might be difficult to maintain belief, but every time we come in from a game we believe things are going to change for us.

"And I know that will be the case once we've got our full squad back. At the moment we've got two central defenders out, a goalkeeper and a central midfielder injured, and all these are players who would be in the team.

"Sometimes when you lose key players it can be difficult and that's how it is at the moment, so we're just trying to ride with it - but we'll definitely be okay."

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