Having admitted last season was a “free hit” for his King’s Lynn side, Ian Culverhouse knows they need to start fast in an ultra-competitive National League this season.
The Linnets’ boss saw his side go down 1-0 at home to Southend United last weekend, thanks in no small part to a fine performance from goalkeeper Paul Jones, who pulled off a string of saves in their opening fixture.
Conceding just once against a side expected to be in the promotion mix come the end of the season will have pleased Culverhouse whose side conceded 98 goals last season, more than any other team in the division.
They finished the campaign in 21st place which would have been enough to send them down if relegation had not been cancelled.
It has been a summer of change on and off the pitch at King’s Lynn, with the club going full-time despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and bringing in a number of new signings.
They had six players, including former Exeter City keeper Jones, making their senior debut against Southend and will be looking to build on a positive performance against Yeovil.
One familiar face in the visitors’ squad is striker Gold Omotayo, who made 16 appearances in for the Glovers in the 2019-20 season. He finished last season at Wrexham before being released and arriving in Norfolk.
FROM THE MEDIA
Normally, we would try to find you the views of the opposition manager in this pre-match previews, but there’s nothing we can find from Ian Culverhouse about his side’s trip to South Somerset.
So, here is what Greg Plummer, reporter for the Lynn News had to say: “Whatever side manager Ian Culverhouse chooses to put out, the Lynn boss will not budge from his philosophy of getting the ball down and trying to play football out from the back.
“Despite going full-time in the summer, Lynn’s ambitions this season have to be to survive in the league and build from there. That in itself will be seen as a great achievement.
“In terms of squads and budgets, Lynn have perhaps the smallest in the National League.
“With a squad of just 19, any absentees will leave the Norfolk side down to the bare bones in terms of players available for selection.“
Ian Culverhouse is known as a master tactician but even he will struggle to find a formation from a squad which is even more paper-thin than Yeovil Town’s.
And his job is made even harder by the loss of striker Junior Morias who was red carded in the 1-0 defeat to Southend United on the opening day.
Morias’ place alongside Gold Omotayo means Malachi Linton, a 20-year-old forward signed on loan from Wycombe Wanderers, is likely to get a start.
The Linnets’ attacking options have been dented by the loss of Adam Marriott, whose last minute (offside) goal earned them a 2-2 draw against Yeovil in the opening game of last season, and Michael Gash.
Marriott departed to Eastleigh last season as the club looked to cut its wage bill during the pandemic and Gash was a ‘victim’ of the decision to go full-time, preferring to stay semi-professional by joining Southern League side Peterborough Sports in the summer.
In midfield, the Linnets have been boosted by the signing of Ipswich Town midfielder Brett McGavin in the week.
The 21-year-old is described as a ball winning midfielder equipped with precise passing and seems likely to make his debut at Huish Park.
Joe Rowley, who has joined on loan from Chesterfield, was a bright spark in midfield against Southend with Irish centre half Kyle Callan-McFadden the mainstay in defence.
A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
Gold Omotayo – the obvious link man between the two sides having been part of Darren Sarll’s first squad as Yeovil Town manager in the 2019-20 season.
He made 16 appearances that season before departing to rivals Halifax Town and then Conference South big spenders Gloucester City before turning up at Wrexham, where he played in the Welsh side’s 3-0 win over Yeovil towards the end of last season.
Presumably the part-time kick-boxer was too proud to take the Hollywood cash offered by the Red Dragons and instead opted for a move to the familiar rural setting of Norfolk.
Ominously, the last time Gold played against Yeovil in the Glovers’ opening game of the season, he scored an 89th-minute winner for Bury in the 2018-19 season.
Kwesi Appiah – spent a month on loan with Yeovil from Crystal Palace during the 2012-2013 – which turned out alright for us, as I recall.
He made five appearances for Gary Johnson’s men, coming off the bench for four of them which the Glovers won, and starting one – a 2-0 defeat at Colchester United on a cold February night.
Earlier in his career, whilst with Peterborough United, Appiah had a prolific spell with King’s Lynn FC scoring nine in 10 games for the Northern League Premier side before his loan spell was cut short when the club went bust. I’m not saying he’s unlucky, but….
King’s Lynn FC were eventually wound up in November 2009 with debts of £77,000 and reformed as today’s King’s Lynn Town in January 2010.