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Alan Knill working on a complete overhaul at Torquay United

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

By DAVID THOMAS

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NEW Interim manager Alan Knill is working on an emergency overhaul of Torquay United's team after the struggling Gulls SEVENTH successive League Two defeat.

The full scale of the job facing Knill is now apparent, after a Tuesday night which could hardly have gone worse – at Plainmoor or elsewhere.

United allowed Wycombe Wanderers to come from behind and win 2-1, while all their relegation rivals picked up points.

Now United (20th) must go to Accrington Stanley (22nd) for a huge 'six-pointer' on Saturday trying to avoid a club record-equalling eighth league defeat on the trot.

Knill, who had been talking about 'fine-tuning' after last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Port Vale, was already trying to sign a centre-back, because experienced Aussie Aaron Downes is expected to be out for at least two weeks with hamstring trouble.

But the former Rotherham, Bury and Scunthorpe boss says: "I'm definitely looking at all areas of the team now.

"We need some game-changers – that's clear."

Knill hopes to have at least one new loan signing, possibly two, on board before United take on Accrington, on a Crown Ground pitch where they have not taken a point in four visits.

United's board have already stated that they will back their new manager with cash for loan deals.

Despite what happened against Wycombe, Knill is still unmoved in his belief that United will stay up.

"I don't know why anybody thought it was going to be any different," he said.

"It doesn't make any difference what other teams do – we have to look after ourselves.

"It's been a tough four days, losing to Port Vale and Wycombe, but there are 12 games left, not three or four.

"A lot of things can change, and it's up to us to be positive, organise ourselves better and quicker and be a bit more determined about things.

"But I am quite sure that we will get out of it."

Skipper Lee Mansell, who had to drop out of the Wycombe game because of sickness, should be back to face Accrington.

Knill admitted: "Lee was a big miss for us on Tuesday.

"Wycombe won the 'second' balls on a night when they were always going to be an important part of the game.

"No one was happy at half-time, even though we were leading. It took us 25 minutes to get going.

"I think there's a bit of apprehension there – we've got some young players who haven't been in this situation before.

"I was delighted that we scored (from open play) after such a long time without one, but disappointed that we couldn't keep that one-goal lead.

"In the second half we had a great chance to make it 2-0 and didn't take it, and they go down the other end and take their chance.

"Then we go deeper and deeper. Instead of stepping forward, we stepped back."

Veteran Wycombe player-manager Gareth Ainsworth, 39, who made such a difference as a second-half sub, said: "I don't think there's going to be too many more cameos from me at my age.

"I was absolutely shattered at the end, and I was only on for 40 minutes.

"To see the looks on the faces of our supporters made it all worthwhile – and now I think I'll have to buy everyone fish-and-chips on the way home!"

United are only a point clear of the drop-zone, heading into another big weekend in an increasingly frantic relegation scrap.

Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle (24th), three points adrift at the bottom, face Barnet (21st) at Home Park on Saturday.

AFC Wimbledon (23rd) go to Cheltenham (7th), while Aldershot (19th) entertain leaders Gillingham and Bristol Rovers are at home to Burton Albion (3rd).

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