Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United versus Altrincham
Date: Saturday 21st August 2021
Opposition fact file:
Year founded: 1891
Nickname: The Robins or Alty
Last season’s league finish: 17th National League
National League (Alliance Premier League) champions: 1979-80, 1980-81
Northern Premier League champions: 1998-99, 2017-18
Pre-season form (Last 6): Brightlingsea (A) 0-5 W, Stoke City U23s (A) 5-1 L, Bradford (Park Avenue) (A) 1-2 W. Curzon Ashton (A) 1-1 D, Trafford (A) 1-1 D, Huddersfield Town B Team (A) 1-3 W
Manager: Phil Parkinson
Since he was appointed as Altrincham boss on April 28, 2017, Phil Parkinson has overseen two promotions in the space of three seasons, which has seen Alty return to the National League for the first time since 2016. In the 2017-18 season, Altrincham won the Northern Premier League title and they followed up this achievement by winning promotion from the National League North through the play-offs in the 2019-20 campaign. They consolidated their place in the National League last season with 17th place finish.
After starting out as a player with Crewe Alexandra and Reading, Parkinson spent a year with Port Vale before making his name at Nantwich Town, who he captained to FA Vase glory in 2006, this was followed by promotions from the North West Counties League and the Unibond Northern League Division One.
He later took over as manager of Nantwich in 2015 and led them to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy in the 2015-16 season. He led them to the Northern Premier League play-offs in the 2016-17 campaign, where they were beaten by Spennymoor United.
Player to watch: Ben Pringle
Many Torquay United fans will remember Ben Pringle from his five-match loan spell from Derby County in the 2010-11 season, which included a 2-0 win over Stevenage on his debut and the famous 5-0 win over Shrewsbury Town.
Pringle then went on to join Rotherham United, where he won back-to-back promotions between League Two to the Championship in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. He has since had spells with Fulham, Preston North End, Gillingham and Morecambe before signing for Altrincham during the summer of 2021.