Hat-trick hero Danny Wright described Torquay United’s 5-0 win at Hartlepool United as ‘a big statement’ as the Gulls moved five points clear at the top of the Vanarama National League.

Centre-forward Wright scored three times - a series of left and right foot and a header - for the first time since he hit a hat-trick to help Histon beat Burton Albion 4-3 in the Conference in August 2008.

“A perfect hat-trick, and I’m happy with all of them,” said the 36-year-old striker after Gary Johnson’s Gulls inflicted Hartlepool’s first defeat of the season.

“We knew it was a big game for us, but we started fast and it was a great performance all-round.

“It’s a big statement, but it’s early days and there are plenty of big games to come.”

Johnson said: “We started very well, 2-0 up in 15 minutes, with the lads playing to the plan.

“They (Hartlepool) are not a bad side. They still looked dangerous at 2-0, 3-0 and 4-0, but I was proud of the boys - they put in a big effort.

“They’ve been doing that all season so far, and that’s why they are top of the league.

“It’s only early days, but we feel that we’ve got what it takes.”

As the UK heads for a second anti-Covid national ‘lockdown’, the indications are that professional football will be allowed to continue behind closed doors.

“All managers are telling their teams that you need to pick up as many points as possible, in case something similar happens to last year,” said Johnson.

“Football is trying very hard to keep things going and keep things safe.”