Chris Hargreaves: New Torquay boss admits task is 'gargantuan'

Hargreaves aiming for expansive approach

New Torquay boss Chris Hargreaves says the task facing him at the struggling League Two side is "gargantuan" as he begins his first managerial role.

The Gulls, who are 23rd in the table, appointed the 41-year-old on Monday after sacking Alan Knill last week.

"It's a gargantuan job, it's that simple," he told BBC Radio Devon.

"It's a big ask and I'm under no illusions about that. It's going to be tough, and it will be a challenge, but life's about all about challenges."

Torquay have won only five league games this season and currently occupy one of the two relegation places in League Two, but they are level on points with Bristol Rovers and within four points of four other clubs at the foot of the table.

"We are in this position. That's not my fault but it's my job to try and get the lads out of it," said Hargreaves, who played at Plainmoor for three-and-a-half seasons.

"I can't underestimate how important team spirit is. If I can add to that, then brilliant. There are some good people there, never mind good players. We all need to be pulling in the same direction on and off the pitch - staff, players and fans."

Gulls vice-chairman Bill Phillips admitted on Monday that Hargreaves' budget would be "tight" in the light of two managerial departures in a short space of time, but the former Bournemouth first-team coach said he would like to strengthen if possible.

"If I find the right type of player and the right type of character, which is important, we'll look to get them in. But I'm very happy with the squad I've got as there's a lot of belief in there," he said.

The 41-year-old said he was relishing working at a club where he made more than 100 appearances as a player.

"It's brilliant to be back - I'm honoured to be manager of the club," he told BBC Spotlight.

"There's 92 managers and I'm one of them. I'm under no illusions about how hard the challenge is but when you step on the training ground with the players and you see the atmosphere and the determination then you realise why you wanted to do the job."

Hargreaves joked that he would need to do the lottery twice a week to improve his transfer kitty, but insisted he could find the quality of player he wanted on a tight budget.

"You can do it, you might not be buying Ronaldo or players from the Championship but you can find players," he said.

"Players that are out are often very, very hungry to do well. It's not easy, but you can get players in."

Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn told BBC South that he was sad to see Hargreaves, who had been at the club since 2012, leave Dean Court.

"I'm thrilled to bits for Chris, who is a real gentleman," said Mostyn.

"It's a problem in football - he was an integral part of our success over the last few years and bringing the club into the Championship.

"The last thing we wanted to do was lose such an important ingredient of the success story, but you can't stand in the way of progress."