Gary Owers has enjoyed a whirlwind week since being named Torquay United head coach.
Owers led the team in his first National League game away to Barrow last Saturday. Then came Tuesday’s St. Lukes Challenge Cup match. In between those two fixtures he has been busy trying to sign players that will improve the first team squad and dealing with a long injury list.
“I’ve enjoyed being out on the training ground with the players, that’s where I want to be. It would be great if there were more players out there with us. It’s been a bit lonely because most of the players are on the treatment table. I think I have got a good core of players, I have seen some good things. Obviously, I have seen some things we are going to have to improve on quite quickly.
United’s squad has grown massively over the last couple of weeks to cope with the injury list, but to also help the Club climb the league. Owers is aware that too big a squad, even with the injury list, is not necessarily a good thing.
“We have got a massive squad – 27 players. It is way too many players for a club at this level. I spoke to a couple of managers in the League and when I told them I had 27 players, they couldn’t believe it. We have to look at that. Everybody needs to have an opportunity. I’ll have to make some decisions and make some of them quite quickly.
“It is a balancing act. I am looking at the squad available for the weekend. I’ve got an eye on the FA Cup coming up and the number of loan players, and whether they will all have permission to play in the FA Cup. If they are not allowed then I have a problem there. It is delicate.
“My focus is on the league. I’m looking at the league table and we have to get out of that position as quickly as possible.”
Tuesday’s defeat to Cullompton in the St. Luke’s Cup isn’t weighing too heavy on the Gaffer’s mind. United need points in the National League.
“There was a couple of young lads from the [Torquay] Academy, and there were a couple of trialists. It was sort of a team that was thrown together. A couple of senior lads may have lost an opportunity to impress us, but I didn’t really say too much after that game to be honest. I am trying to be positive and concentrating on the group of players that are going to try and win a game for us on Saturday.
The search for quality players is a difficult one. The Gaffer has a very clear message for players before they join the Club.
“If you want to come and play, come and play. The lads that want to come and play, they’re the ones that benefit. The lads that stay and sit on people’s benches and play U23 games, they can go stale quite easily.
“I am working around the clock, speaking to agents, speaking to clubs and seeing who is available. Getting around to people that I know in the game to see who has passed through their door. I wouldn’t say that there won’t be anyone [new] here before Saturday.
“We have to try and win on Saturday at home, and that’s us up and running. We’re going to try and win every game and be organized. Try and get supporters back onside because I want them to enjoy their Saturday afternoons and not to go away every teatime on the back of another defeat. That’s what it is about for me.”
The Club has surprised Owers so far. The training ground and stadium speak of a team that should be much higher in the table. Turning that into a reality will be his biggest challenge.
“I’m surprised at the magnitude of the Club for this level. The setup is at Seale Hayne is good and the stadium is magnificent. I feel like I am at a club that shouldn’t be at the bottom of the league. We have got to do something about that.”
“We shouldn’t be fearing anyone in this league – I believe that. The supporters will feel that, because of their history, because of their personal pride. The players have to feel that.”