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Shaun Taylor determined to help Alan Knill get points on board at Torquay United

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

Torquay loan signing Elliot Benyon has spent only 56 minutes on the pitch out of a possible 270 Phil Mingo/Pinnacle

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Assistant manager Shaun Taylor has lost no time in presenting a "united" front with new interim boss Alan Knill as Torquay United prepare to take on promotion-chasing Port Vale at Plainmoor today.

After just two days of training with the Gulls' squad, Knill will be in charge for the first time, but Taylor stressed: "We are in it together now.

"It was important that the two of us get up and running as quickly as possible, and we have. I think I could work with nearly anyone, but it was key that I could work with whoever the club brought in.

"Alan and I seem to have similar principles. I was very pleased that the club felt highly of me, that I should have an input into the decision to bring Alan in. I was involved in it.

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"Alan is quite unassuming. He gets on with his job. Over the past two days, we have worked together on the training ground, and we have talked a lot as well, planning for this game.

"I like to think that the club made the right decision, but it's all about results in the end, and we've got to start getting some more points on the board."

All Gulls fans will be eager to see who Knill picks this afternoon, since the make-up and the formation of the side has become such an issue in the recent lean weeks.

For instance, new loan signing Elliot Benyon has been back at Plainmoor for three games now, but has spent only 56 minutes on the pitch.

At the heart of United's problems has been the lack of punch in front of goal.

They have scored just once from open play in the last seven games, and Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis and Aldershot Town's Jamie Young had to make only one save apiece as United slid to 1-0 npower League Two defeats at Spotland and the Recreation Ground over the past week.

Knill, whose family home is in Sheffield, was at Rotherham United's New York Stadium to see Micky Adams' Port Vale side beat Steve Evans' Millers 2-1 on Boxing Day.

"They were pretty good, probably one of the better teams I've seen this season," he said. "Playing against the top teams is the best way to judge yourself.

"I would love to have two clear weeks to prepare for these games, but we have two coming up quickly [Wycombe are at Plainmoor next Tuesday] and there is no choice.

"We will try our best to prepare the team and pick a team that's going to compete."

Adams admitted: "Alan knows League Two, and I would rather they had appointed someone after this game than before it, to be honest. But Alan doesn't play the game, and I don't. It's about his team and my team, not us.

"Although Torquay haven't been getting results lately, they still have the nucleus of the side which got to the play-offs last year. They're a formidable outfit when they get going."

It was back on September 1 when United went to Burslem and drew 1-1. Rookie centre-half Kirtys McKenzie gave Vale centre-forward Tom Pope nothing that afternoon, quite an achievement since Pope has taken his tally to 27 League and cup goals since then.

Pope is now operating in tandem with on-loan veteran goal-grabber Lee Hughes, one of the few strikers in English league football to have scored more than 200 goals in an eventful career with West Bromwich Albion, twice, Coventry City, Oldham Athletic, Notts County and now Vale.

Hughes already has four goals in six games for Vale, but neither he nor Pope could breach Morecambe's defence in a surprise 1-0 home defeat last weekend.

Torquay United (from): Poke, Rice; Leadbitter, Saah, Downes, Nicholson, Easton, Mansell, Bodin, Jarvis, Stevens, Howe, MacDonald, Lathrope, Morris, Macklin, Benyon, Cruise, Craig, Yeoman, Oastler, McKenzie, N Thompson, Halpin, Baker.

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