Hawkins boost for Lynn as Culverhouse is forced to stick with youngsters

Lynn's Ryan Hawkins is on his way back after almost two months on the sidelines. Picture: Ian Burt

Lynn's Ryan Hawkins is on his way back after almost two months on the sidelines. Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse hasn't seen much light at the end of the injury tunnel of late, but could soon add Ryan Hawkins to his injury-hit squad.

The Linnets boss has little option but to name the same squad for today’s trip to Dorchester Town as travelled to Slough last weekend.

Littered with young and inexperienced players, they went down 3-0, and while Culverhouse will be digging deep into his fount of footballing knowledge to get the best out of his squad, the news that Hawkins is on the mend after suffering a badly gashed leg at Cirencester in mid-February at will be a major boost.

The 22-year-old got a vital 45 minutes under his belt for Lynn’s reserves team against Dereham’s second string on Tuesday. And while today’s game is too soon, Culverhouse can at least pencil the striker in for future reference.

“That will be a massive plus for us,” said Culverhouse, who has seen his squad hit by a series of injuries, with defenders Sam Gaughran, Tom Ward, Ryan Fryatt and Jordan Yong all sidelined through injury.

“It will be the same squad for Dorchester but obviously Hawks won’t be there because he needs to get minutes under his belts. There might be a tweak in the formation and people will get their chance again, but it is the same personnel because that is all we have got.”

It means another outing for Connor Marshall, whose appearance at Slough was his first since December 2015, while Ryan Harnwell continues up front.

While Lynn are effectively just playing for pride among a group of mid-table teams jostling for the best finishing position, the remainder of the season is at least blooding youngsters and allowing Culverhouse to assess the strengths of his squad, without undue pressure.

The Linnets are 13th in the table, while Dorchester are 18th, and although the Dorset side are just about safe, they will be keen to avoid any nervous moments over the remaining four games.

Dorchester midfielder Ollie Griggs hopes the Magpies can repeat their efforts of a week ago when they came from two down to draw 2-2 against Hitchin.

“It’ll be another tough game,” he said. “We’ve all been working really hard in training and we just want to make ourselves secure so we can play in this league again next year.”

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