United head back home this Saturday to take on Hemel Hempstead at Plainmoor. Torquay United head coach gary Owers is confident that his players will get back to finding the back of the net soon.
“The lads have really stick together this week,” said Owers at his weekly press call. “There’s a real good spirit, and there is disappointment because they all know what we are trying to do. There’s no lack of effort, and the quality I see during the week we are just trying to transfer out onto the pitch.”
United’s 0-0 draw against Gloucester on Monday was their third of the season so far but the Gaffer is eager to see his team rise to the challenge as one of the biggest teams in the division.
“I’m reflecting on the games. The pitch at Gloucester, the grass was long. We tried to play forward a lot earlier – be a bit more direct which we did which a little degree of success without obviously scoring. We forced Gloucester to defend and they just put everyone behind the ball which then presents another problem because you’ve got to be clever and be able to unlock the door if you like.
“Teams are raising their game. The players are raising their own individual games – that’s coming from the managers of the teams that we are playing against. We have to raise our game to match that and then raise it again to be better than that. It’s something that we are speaking about. I think one or two of the lads, it’s dawned on them how big a challenge it is and how high the expectation level is, and how consistent they have to be week-in week-out to mee the challenge head on.
“This first month is tough for any team, as it is for us. The pure volume of games – seven games in August. I’ve been thinking this morning whether we have trained too much in August considering the amount of games we have played. Hopefully the month of September will settle down a little bit and the Saturday/Saturday fixtures give you better time on the training pitch and a more structured week. Let’s hope that can make a difference.
“I always feel the players playing at this level – I’m not being disrespectful – they’re not built to play seven games in one month at the start of the season. Hence, why some clubs struggle with injuries. We’re finding that ourselves that you can lose three or four players quite quickly and it has an impact. I don’t think you’d see the lads at the top of the game, or the top of the profession in the Premier League playing seven games in August.”
New loan signings Opi Edwards and Jake Andrews go straight into consideration for Saturday’s match.
Samir Nabi picked up a grade two abductor strain against Gloucester which meant he was substituted at half-time. Jakub Sokolik continues his rehabilitation from a ligament injury picked up against East Thurrock. Jean-Yves Koue Niate has received some good new regarding his ankle injury. He hasn’t actually broken his ankle as suspected, but there is ligament damage and it is expected that he will be out for at least September.
Hemel Hempstead were promoted to the National League South after winning the Southern League Premier in 2014. In the following season they reached the first-round proper of the FA Cup before being beaten 3-1 by Bury FC. Last season they finished in fifth position in the National League South but were beaten on penalties in the play-offs to eventual winners, Braintree Town.
Hemel made a successful start to their 2018/19 National League season with back-to-back wins. But since then they have only picked up three points and come into Saturday’s game on the back of a 5-3 loss against Chelmsford City. Gary Owers is expecting a very competitive game against the Tudors.
“They’ve got a very good player, who I still think should be playing way above this level, Sanchez Watt, who was at Arsenal and was at Colchester last season. Reece Prestedge always seems to do well against us. They’ve got a good mix. It’s about us, playing at home. I just have a feeling that the supporters will come and really get behind us on Saturday and I think that will make a difference.
Torquay United Vs Hemel Hempstead Town | 01/09/18 | 3pm Kick-Off
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