Positive signs appear to point way to Alan Knill taking up Torquay United reins
Torquay United and Alan Knill are thought to be close to a deal for the ex-Bury and Scunthorpe boss to become the Gulls' new permanent manager.
Knill, chairwoman Thea Bristow and other members of the United board were due to hold a second round of detailed talks last night.
There may be an announcement over the weekend, but any official unveiling of Knill as the new team boss is likely to be delayed until after Monday's Bank Holiday.
It has obviously been a help that the two sides are hardly strangers after Sheffield-based Knill, who has remained in South Devon this week, guided United to Football League safety over the last two months and 14 games of the season.
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There are a wide range of issues to be thrashed out, but negotiations appear to have gone well.
Knill, 48, has also had time to make his mind up on the merits of the Torquay squad, so it should not take long to draw up and announce the club's retained list next week.
There has been a steady stream of season-ticket renewals over the past few days, in anticipation of positive news on the managerial and player front.
The Plainmoor pitch is about to have a near-£20,000 makeover which Torquay United groundsman Chris Ralph hopes will spare him from the problems which dogged his first season at the club.
Former golf club greenkeeper Ralph, who was appointed in November, suffered four waterlogged postponements as Plainmoor reacted badly to the wettest winter for years.
Some work had been done under previous groundsman Scott Duff last summer, but Ralph said: "The club is spending more money this year, and hopefully it will produce a pitch we can be proud of."
Several years of "compaction" under the surface has affected drainage, and a key part of this summer's work is deep verti-draining, to break up a layer of clay and create new drainage channels.
The slits will then be filled with a layer of sand, followed by over-seeding.
The erection of Plainmoor's new Bristow's Bench grandstand has created a slight problem of its own, because it restricts sunlight down one side of the pitch for much of the day.
But Ralph, who formerly looked after Newton Abbot's Hele Park golf course, said: "We're going to get round that by using different faster-growing and quicker recovering seed in front of the Bench to the type we sow over the rest of the pitch."
His only frustration is a slight delay before serious work can start, because Plainmoor has been booked for traditional end-of-season local finals and a charity match between exiled Liverpool supporters and friends in aid of the Hillsborough Disaster Fund next Saturday.