Ian Culverhouse on Guiseley, the season... and his King's Lynn players
PUBLISHED: 11:04 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:04 02 August 2019
King's Lynn Town have an away day on Saturday for their first game in National League North - CHRIS LAKEY spoke to manager Ian Culverhouse ahead of the trip
Ian Culverhouse will reveal a trade secret some time on Saturday morning when he tells his players who will start King's Lynn Town's opening match of the new season.
The man himself has known his team for some time now - indecisiveness is not in his make-up. A career playing and coaching at the highest level of English football doesn't allow for weak spots: the Linnets boss deals more in realities.
Those realities include the very real threat of some beatings which were hardly commonplace in the past couple of seasons and of players perhaps unable to make the step up to a higher level.
But, as footballer people like to say, we are where we are - and Culverhouse is prepared for all eventualities.
The journey to Guiseley will likely be when he tells the players who will start and who won't - with a squad of 18 players it's unlikely there will be many 'wasted' journeys.
"I know my team," said the Lynn boss. "I have had an idea for a while, for a couple of weeks, and the main thing now is with the end of the games I can pick that side, there are no injuries. Everyone is up there and around there with their minutes which is important and then we can go in there as a group and give it a right good go.
"I can assure you now that the starting team won't be the one that finishes the season, everyone will get their chance because we are going to have to use the whole squad. The 18 players we have got here will get a chance to play."
This morning's conversation will perhaps be a difficult one for some: it is almost inevitable that one of his mainstays from last season's promotion-winning team will have to start on the bench, given the strength that has been added over the summer.
"Yes, there are a few close calls in there but I'm looking at it and I am confident in the XI we are going to put out there, I really am, and we will have a few weapons coming off the bench as well, which is really good, because you are only as strong as your bench."
Culverhouse has players at his disposal who have worn the National League T-shirt, and more, like Ryan Jarvis, who has bags of Football League experience, striker Michael Gash, defender Rory McAuley and summer arrival Sam Kelly,
"It's a new experience for all of us, but we are blessed in this squad that we have a good mixture," he said. "We have experienced players who have played above the level as well, and we will tap into that experience. But even if they are not in the side to start with their experience within the group will help. And we all know it is a big ask for us but we will tap into that experience and push it on."
Culverhouse is the master tactician and with assistant Paul Bastock will have settled on a starting shape in the team's final training session on Thursday.
"We will have a look at different things," he said. "We will run for a few things and will do a bit of analysis as well because the league we are going into is a good professional league and we have got to move this club with it. We have to add things to it, the analysis side becomes really important now and where we can help these players we will do. We will give them feedback and we will look at the tapes as much as we can. That is the league we are going into and we have to really start making this a professional football club."
The Lynn boss isn't one who generally worries too much about the opposition, but this is, as he is at pains to point out, a different ball game.
"They (Guiseley) are good at home," he said. "Stockport, who went up last year, didn't beat them in the two games they played. I have seen some clips of them and they drew last week with Stockport in a pee-season game. It is a hard place. I listened to the Stockport manager afterwards and he said, 'I wanted to come here because I knew it was going to be a psychical test, so that is Stockport, who have gone into the Conference.
"We know what we are going to get as well. We are going to really stand up to it. It might take us a few games to get used to it but I have got a lot of trust in that dressing room and those players."
Culverhouse is clearly relaxed, despite the immense challenges facing his team.
"I am looking forward to it, I really am," he said. "It is going to be a hell of a test but all we can do is make sure we are competitive. I think if we are competitive in every game we go into we might surprise one or two, because of the way we can play and it is just about creating and taking our chances when they come. We are going to get knocks and we are going to take bumps in the road as we go along, but as long as we stick together, and that is the fans as well, if they stick with this football team we will give it a right good go."
"We are going to take some beatings, I know that, but it is how we respond and how we react to that and how we come back and we will be stronger for it."
Saturday 3 Guiseley (a)
Tuesday 6 Kettering Town (h)
Saturday 10 Hereford (h)
Tuesday 13 Brackley Town (a)
Saturday 17 Telford (a)
Saturday 24 Curzon Ashton (h)
Mon 26 Farsley Celtic (a)
Saturday 31 Darlington (h)
Tuesday 3 Alfreton Town (h)
Saturday 7 Spennymoor Town (a)
Saturday 14 Gloucester City (h)
Saturday 21 (FA Cup)
Saturday 28 York City (a)
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Saturday 12 Chester (h)
Saturday 19 Leamington (h)
Saturday 26 Kidderminster Harriers (a)
Saturday 2 Altrincham (h)
Saturday 9 Bradford Park Avenue (a)
Saturday 16 Southport (a)
Saturday 23 (FA Trophy)
Saturday 30 Gateshead (h)
Saturday 7 Blyth Spartans (h)
Saturday 21 Gloucester City (a)
Thursday 26 Boston United (h)
Saturday 28 Alfreton Town (a)
Wednesday 1 Boston United (a)
Saturday 4 Spennymoor Town (h)
Saturday 11 Chester (a)
Saturday 18 York City (h)
Saturday 25 Blyth Spartans (a)
Saturday 1 Kidderminster Harriers (h)
Saturday 8 Leamington (a)
Saturday 15 Bradford Park Avenue (h)
Saturday 22 Altrincham (a)
Saturday 29 Southport (h)
Saturday 7 Gateshead (a)
Saturday 14 Guiseley (h)
Saturday 21 Kettering Town (a)
Saturday 28 Brackley Town (h)
Saturday 4 Hereford (a)
Friday 10 Farsley Celtic (h)
Monday 13 Curzon Ashton (a)
Saturday 18 FC Telford (h)
Saturday 25 Darlington (a)