Kevin Nicholson was philosophical when assessing the squad of trialists and development players that turned out for United against Stoke Gabriel on Saturday.

“With all due respect to Newton [Abbot Spurs], Stoke are a better outfit and a stronger team, and it was a good test. We did alright to start with but when I made the changes it disrupted a lot and then it all went a little bit wrong. At the same time, I think I learn more about players when things are going horribly wrong, than I do if it is a nice easy 4-0 win. I am not concerned about results – it was judging players and how they reacted when things weren’t going their way and if they had enough to be invited back for a longer look.

Also playing today were two players from Torquay Academy (Kyle Willoughby & Charlie Mares) who impressed the Gaffer.

“Two of the boys from TA came in as a result of our link up with them. It is always positive when they can sample men’s football. One of them [Kyle Willoughby] hadn’t had any experience of men’s football before. Although he is going to get a bit of stick at school for coming off with a grazed knee, he actually put himself about a bit against a group of strong men.

The Gaffer also doubts that trialists that didn’t see action in today’s match will return to the Club. The Yellow Army’s interested was piqued by two goals from forward Jon Fondop in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Newton Abbot Spurs, and the presence of striker Vinny Mukendi, but the Gaffer will be looking elsewhere, but nor is the door closed for either.

“We’re looking for certain abilities, certain characteristics and [Mike] Fondop was with us for a couple of days and it didn’t quite work out. He had a decent enough game against Newton [Abbot Spurs] but not really what we are looking for.

“Vinny [Mukendi] is similar. We are still in contact and we’re still chatting but I’m keeping my options open and seeing what else is out there.”

Nicholson also confirmed that 1st team players will see their first action of the pre-season campaign at home to Bristol City (kick-off 7:30pm) on Wednesday, July 12.

“That [Bristol] will be for our boys, the ones that are signed on. Plus maybe two of three that I will bring in to have a proper look at, against what is going to be a good team.

“The last ten days has been all about making sure our lads are athletically where we want them to be. Making sure we do all the right things and they get to know each other, because they are effectively a group of strangers.

“This week there is a lot more football based stuff. A lot more real football. And then it is about trying to build chemistry and relationships on the pitch.”