Alan Knill: Torquay United sack manager

Torquay United have sacked manager Alan Knill, with the club in relegation trouble at the foot of League Two.

The Gulls, who narrowly stayed up at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, have won just five league games all season and are 23rd in the table.

Head of youth Geoff Harrop has been put in temporary charge of the first team.

Knill, 49, was confirmed as manager in May 2013, having taken over as interim boss three months earlier in the wake of Martin Ling's departure.

He was in charge for 41 games in all competitions in total, with a record of nine wins, 12 draws and 20 defeats.

Analysis

Alan Knill joined the club after the controversial sacking of Martin Ling but never matched the results of his predecessor.

The club has struggled this season, particularly at home. They have only won twice at Plainmoor, scoring only 11 goals in the process and four of them came in their 4-2 win over Cheltenham in September.

His summer signings have, in the most part, failed to deliver, especially up front.

Striker Karl Hawley has scored only three times, while fellow frontman Elliot Benyon has hit the net just twice.

Gulls fans will now no doubt be questioning the wisdom of replacing Ling in the first place. But the question now is who will succeed Knill?

"It is with great regret that Torquay United can announce we have terminated the contract of manager Alan Knill," read a club statement.

"The first half of this season has not gone as we all hoped and the board at Plainmoor believe now is the right time for a change.

"We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Alan for all his hard work at our club and especially his success in helping us stay in League Two at the end of last season. We all wish him the very best in his future career."

Knill's last game in charge was a 2-0 defeat by Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle on New Year's Day, a result which came hot on the heels of a 3-1 loss to Exeter City, the third member of Devon's League Two contingent.

The former Wales international had previously been in charge at Rotherham, Bury and Scunthorpe.

Talking at the start of December, Knill admitted his position would be under scrutiny because of the club's league position.

"Of course I'm under pressure - you are always under pressure as a football manager and we all feel the pressure," he told BBC Radio Devon.

"Obviously the board feels the pressure so you just get on with it until someone says 'don't'."

Torquay's next match is against Morecambe on Saturday at Plainmoor.