CHRIS HARGREAVES has called on Torquay United's fans to generate the same atmosphere of his promotion-winning days as a player at Plainmoor as a key ingredient in the current fight to beat relegation.
Speaking ahead of his first home game as the Gulls' manager – Saturday's 'six-pointer' against his old club Northampton Town – Hargreaves said: "Although we had a great result (2-0) at Wimbledon last weekend, I can't stress enough that we must not underestimate the task ahead.
"We are going to have some tough times.
"But the Torquay fans were always good to me, and when Plainmoor was rocking, it was really rocking.
"I remember some great days and nights here, and the atmosphere was a huge part of the success we had," said the man who captained United in two Wembley trips and promotion back to the Football League in 2009. We hope that's what we can recreate over the next few months.
"I will make sure that the players and the staff are giving absolutely everything in every game to make themselves better. The fans will know that the lads are trying, and I'm sure that they will do their bit as well."
Hargreaves described the win at AFC Wimbledon as "a statement of intent".
But he added: "That's the standard we have set, for work-rate, fire, belief and courage to get on the ball, and we must not fall away from that.
"Of course, the fact that it's Northampton on Saturday adds extra spice, for me and the club."
Hargreaves spent four years of his long playing career at Northampton (2000-2004), and the Cobblers interviewed him for their managership before he opted to return to Plainmoor.
United's win at Wimbledon was as timely as it was important, on a day when most of their rivals also picked up points.
Northampton weren't one of them, their 2-0 home defeat by York City leaving them four points adrift of the Gulls.
Only three points now cover United (23rd) and Mansfield (17th).
Saturday sees six of the bottom eleven clubs facing each other – Torquay-Northampton, York-Bristol Rovers and Portsmouth-Mansfield.
Hargreaves, who signed strikers Jayden Stockley (AFC Bournemouth) and Shamir Goodwin (Brighton) on loan last week, has given a trial to his former United teammate, winger Danny Stevens.
But he is also trying to push through a couple more signings, saying: "It may take a little while, but sometimes progress is deciding who you don't want as well as who you do want.
"We are trying hard to get it right."