Torquay United boss Kevin Nicholson saw signs of encouragement as the Gulls returned to action at Plainmoor with a 2-0 win over Bristol City on Wednesday night.

“We did a lot of good things, we pressed well as a team, we looked organised as a team,” said the player-manager. “They looked like they have taken on some coaching and gone and applied what we have been working on which is good.

“On the negative, we missed too many chances. If you’re going to create that many, it probably should have been 8-0, then I might have less to say.

“In the second half we didn’t start the half on the front foot, a little bit subdued, a little bit flat and that can’t be happening because if that happens against Tranmere then you’re going to get hurt. Overall a good start but we’ve not got any points on the board.”

Nicholson revealed that the trio of Liam Davis, Myles Anderson and Jamie Reid missed the game against the Championship outfit through injury. Sam Chaney started the game as a make-shift left-back for United.

“Liam and Myles have picked up very minor knocks and Jamie Reid as well. Nothing that we’re particularly worried about but we couldn’t risk them today. At the end of the day if Chaney is on the bench or if Chaney is in a position where the left-backs get hurt and I need to know who can go and do it, he’s shown me that he can be very adaptable and he can play there.”

The United boss confirmed summer signing Jon-Paul Pittman is likely to be available for the game against Plymouth Argyle next week.

After an impressive first half, the forward was forced off after taking a nasty blow to the head from Bristol City defender Aden Baldwin.

“I think he was probably out for a little bit so it’s five days that he can’t be doing a great deal, but then all being well, assuming that he wakes up tomorrow and he can see straight he should be ok for Plymouth next week.”

Nicholson also provided an update on central defender and captain on the night Josh Gowling, who suffered a similar injury after landing awkwardly, but played on into the second half.

“He said he went a bit dizzy but nothing crazy. They’ve all come out of it well, they’re all a bit aching and they will be again in the morning because it is what it is when you go into pre-season. You can do all the physical work in the world but nothing replicates playing a game.”

The player-manager praised Gowling for an impressive performance at the back, but kept his cards close to his chest as to who would be captaining the side come 5 August against Tranmere.

“He’s a leader. I think most of the guys would look at him as a leader. He got it tonight and we’ll see where we are going forward. They’ve all got to earn that right if they want to be considered for captaincy then they need to show throughout pre-season that they are fit for the role.”

United travel to Tiverton on Friday evening and Nicholson is looking forward to what will prove to be another tough test for the Gulls.

“Tiverton will be more of a true test of what’s coming because they’re not going to sit back and play total football. They’re going to kick us and want to win and put themselves about and that is what I want, our lads are going to have to stand up to a different challenge on Friday. It’ll be another test of what they can learn and what they can do.”