Promotion back to Football League will be Torquay United’s top priority

Torquay United captain Asa Hall Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Torquay United captain Asa Hall Photo: Cameron Geran/PPAUK - Credit: Cameron Geran/PPAUK

Captain Asa Hall says he and his Torquay United teammates relish the pressure that will come with having promotion back to the Football League as the top priority next season.

Hall, 33, believes the experience of winning the National League South championship in 2019 and manager Gary Johnson's decision to retain many of that title-winning squad for another campaign are major bonuses.

The former Birmingham City, Luton Town, Oxford United, Shrewsbury Town, Cheltenham Town and Barrow midfielder also won the NL championship under Johnson at Cheltenham in 2016.

He said: 'The gaffer's methods don't change regardless of what division we are in.

'In all our preparation at Torquay, it's as if we are a League club. That's the players' mentality, it's everyone's mentality.

'There was a big pressure to win the National League South, week in and week out, and we came through that.

'There is a pressure to perform every Saturday at this club, but you want to be challenged as a footballer - just picking up the money with nothing much on it is no good for anybody.

Most Read

'It's a hungry dressing room here, it's a good positive environment and trying to win promotion is the only way you can approach the season.

'We wanted to do it in the season just gone but it didn't quite happen.

'We did have a lot of injuries, and it was frustrating that we couldn't play our last ten games because we still had a lot to play for and a lot to prove.

'But in some ways it was a dry run for what we want to do next season.

'It's a big plus that the gaffer has kept so many of the 'champions' together.

'I know the sort of players and characters they are trying to bring in, and the younger boys will only be better for the three-quarters of a season we've just had in the National League.'

Hall has been using the last few months to complete his UEFA 'B' coaching badge, although he stressed: 'I'm still nowhere near ready to stop playing yet - I feel great and I'll be firing on all cylinders when we get back.

'Everything is up in the air at a lot of clubs, and it's a scary time out there. But football will return, and we're all determined to try and do something special again next season.'