Torquay United boss Alan Knill expects Gulls to bounce back

Torquay United boss Alan Knill has insisted Sunday's Devon derby defeat by Exeter was just a temporary setback in their battle against relegation.

The Gulls had taken seven points from three games to climb out of the bottom two before Sunday's 3-1 defeat.

"We had a terrible November and we've come back strong in December, so it's not difficult to pick the players up," Knill told BBC Radio Devon.

"We're going the right way. We played well but the result went against us."

Torquay beat Dagenham & Redbridge and Southend and drew with Bristol Rovers to move out of the relegation zone, but found Exeter too stiff a test at Plainmoor.

"Seven points is a pretty good haul," said Knill.

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It was a proper midwinter derby

Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale

"Now all we have to do is go to Plymouth on Wednesday and take something from the game and it will be a pretty good month for us. The players have done brilliantly. The results and the performance speak for themselves."

Knill was happy with his side's first-half effort against Exeter, and played down the significance of Karl Hawley's penalty that was saved with the score still 0-0.

"I didn't think the penalty miss affected us as a team," he said. "We just kept on doing what we were doing, which was moving the ball around the pitch and creating chances - that's football, isn't it?"

Exeter boss Paul Tisdale said his side, sitting comfortably in mid-table, had needed to show good character to keep Torquay at bay.

"It was a proper midwinter derby - they didn't half come at us in the first half and the old cliché of weathering the storm was quite correct," he said.

"We escaped a bit with the penalty. They were certainly up for the game and we had to stay firm and stay in the game."

Meanwhile, Torquay's on-loan striker John Marquis has returned to parent club Millwall for treatment on a groin problem, and the timescale for his recovery will, to an extent, dictate their transfer-window strategy.

"It all depends on whether he comes back - everyone wants strikers and we're no different," added Knill.

"The problem is when it comes down to funds: we'd love to go and spend loads in January but unfortunately we haven't got loads."