Trophy or league? King's Lynn boss faces a balancing act
PUBLISHED: 12:10 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:10 10 January 2020
While King's Lynn Town turn their attentions to the pursuit of silverware on Saturday, it's hard to get away from the club's league aspirations.
The Linnets head to Ebbsfleet United, a side struggling for survival in the National League while the visitors are heading one of the feeder leagues, eager to swap divisions.
Whether a knockout competition game 'interferes' with promotion and relegation battles is up for debate, but there are certainly positives and negatives for Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse to ponder. With a thin squad he could do with as few games as possible, and the possibility of a replay on Tuesday would not only add to their workload but increase the risk of injury ahead of next weekend's massive home game against closest rivals York City. Plus, there'd be the state of The Walks pitch to consider.
On the other hand, the winning habit is a dangerous one to put at risk - Lynn's current run of 14 league and cup games has taken them to places few thought possible and Culverhouse won't want the momentum to dip.
Victory over Ebbsfleet would put Lynn into the draw for the third round and add another £5,250 to the pot - and with the manager keen to reinforce his playing squad, that's a tasty financial carrot,
Culverhouse welcomes back experienced midfielder Ryan Jarvis after suspension, but defender Tom Ward is cup-tied. The returns of centre-halves Chris Smith and Ryan Fryatt moves ever closer as Lynn seek to stay ahead of the pack in the league.
Culverhouse may have different scenarios to ponder but his opposite number, Kevin Watson - a former playing team-mate at Swindon Town - has problems. His team were thrashed 7-0 by leaders Barrow a week ago and sit second bottom of the table.
Watson knows Lynn's hot-shot striker Adam Marriott - scorer of 14 goals in the unbeaten ruin - from their time together at Stevenage.
"They're going great guns at the top of their league, they've got some great players and I'm not surprised to see them up the top," he said. "Their centre-forward, Adam Marriott, I know well having had him at Stevenage when I was assistant there under Teddy Sheringham. Add in Michael Gash and they're decent players. They'd be good in our league and probably the one above as well. It's not going to be easy but we are at home so it's a chance to progress. They will see it as a chance to progress too but we're on our patch and we need to make more of that.
"We're looking forward, it's all about winning games and breeding confidence and we take every game on its individual merit."
If the game ends in a draw the replay will be at The Walks on Tuesday (7.45pm).