A philosophical Gary Owers described Torquay United’s 4-1 defeat by Forest Green Rovers as ‘a starting point’ after the Gulls opened their pre-season programme with a testing evening at Plainmoor.

Head coach Owers, who revealed that a planned midfield signing had fallen through before the game, said: “It’s a fresh squad – seven new players and two or three trialists. We haven’t had any football, and that’s the first time they have played for a couple of months.

“Forest Green are a good team, they had more possession and passed it simply. They had also had another game under their belt before this one, and I thought that showed.

“It’s about building fitness levels, and it was the most we got out of it this evening.”

Owers, who was without new winger Bobson Bawling (knee) through injury, also revealed: “The lads had come off a heavy training session yesterday, and they also worked hard during this morning, which was planned.

“I would have liked to take one or two off, but I couldn’t – I didn’t think it was the right occasion to throw the Academy lads in.”

Four teenagers from Torquay Academy were included in United’s squad.

“We played three or four different formations during the game – there was nothing set in stone there,” Owers said.

“But we won’t be playing any 4-5-1s this season. If we are going to be a force, I want to play at least two strikers.”

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