TOWN skipper Andy Gurney admits to a growing sense of excitement about the coming season but has warned fans not to let their expectations spiral out of control

The former Torquay United defender is hoping to shake off a knock in time to face his old club at Plainmoor tonight but win, lose or draw, he wants supporters to remain positive, yet sensible, as the big kick-off draws closer.

Gurney is confident the coming months will prove productive for Town but is a tad concerned by some of the comments he has heard from supporters.

He said: "It is important that people don't start getting carried away before a ball has been kicked.

"A lot of people I have spoken to and the vibes I get from others seem to suggest that it is all cut and dried for us this year.

"It's good to have expectancy but nothing is straightforward and simple in football.There are no guarantees.

"It's important to stress that and while it's great to know the fans are backing you, I would ask them to keep their feet on the ground at the same time.

"Both Wigan and Cardiff spent money to try and get out of this league and it took them some time to achieve promotion.

"All I'm saying is that it won't be a walk in the park. What I am sure of is that for the first time since I came to the club, I think we have a squad with the quality to really challenge consistently for a top six slot.

"Last year we paid the price for giving away too many sloppy goals and our other failure was to grind out results on days when things weren't going so well.

"Hopefully with the acquisition of people like Adi Viveash and Sammy Igoe for example, we are better equipped to avoid defeats of the nature we suffered at Northampton and Mansfield.

"You can probably afford two or three such matches before they prove too costly in terms of your season. If we can stop those sloppy goals and keep clean sheets then we have a chance of success.

"We still have a lot of young lads in the team but I think the likes of Matty Heywood, Sam Parkin and David Duke will have benefited from another year in the Second Division.

"Overall though I think the blend of youth and experience this year is better and that's a good reason for optimism.''

As for the immediate task at hand, Gurney knows his old club, who he believes helped him push back up the footballing ladder, will be no push-overs.

He said: "I enjoyed my time at Torquay, having signed from Bristol Rovers.

"During my spell there, we reached the Division Three play-off final at Wembley, only to lose 1-0 to Colchester.

"Sometimes in football you have to take a step back to take a step forward and I think that's what happened in my case.

"It would be nice to get a result but it's all about getting the match fitness back up and making sure we peak in time for the match with Sheffield Wednesday.''