Ian Culverhouse happy with King's Lynn Town's game of catch-up
King's Lynn Town are flexing their muscles in the promotion picture - CHRIS LAKEY spoke to manager Ian Culverhouse about the challenge ahead
It brought a wry smile to Ian Culverhouse’s face, but there was no doubting his thoughts when asked if King’s Lynn Town could catch the top two in the Southern Central Premier table.
After the dreadful start to the season it seemed impossible that Lynn could have any say whatsoever in the promotion race, and even now, with Stourbridge 15 points ahead and Kettering just a couple closer, it seems the stuff of fantasy.
But Lynn are now unbeaten in 15 league games and Culverhouse knows that any loss of form ahead of them will be pounced upon.
“All we can do is keep looking after ourselves,” said the Linnets boss, whose team entertain Leiston on Saturday afternoon. “If we keep turning up and picking up points that is all we can worry about. As long as we do our job. But you never know...”
Culverhouse isn’t the sort to shout the odds from the rooftops, but the manner of Lynn’s New Year’s Day win at Needham Market tells a story: Lynn had only one genuinely fit outfield player on the bench – and he was called into action early on – yet the Linnets cruised to a 4-1 win – a performance and scoreline that was evidence of the manager’s guarded optimism.
“If they get to that level there will be no stopping us because we will go into every game rolling,” he said.
“That level was very, very good, very high.”
The win made it 10 points from 12 over the festive period, after a Boxing Day win over Lowestoft and a goalless draw with Kettering.
“It is always hard once you have a big game – your adrenaline levels drop and we had a big game in the week now to come up and get to that level again is testament to those boys,” said Culverhouse.
“That is the dedication they have got – they all work so for them to turn up and put in a shift like that, two games in four days, then obviously they have to go back to work and it is testament to the group. They are a fantastic group to work with.”
Defender Joe Robinson has been signed from Cambridge City this week and you suspect another addition might be on the way. But Culverhouse can call on a genuine, experienced spine to his team.
Goalkeeper Alex Street looks likely to make his 400th appearance for the club today and in front of him he has the assured pairing of Ryan Fryatt and Rory McAuley, scorer of another spectacular goal in midweek.
Ryan Jarvis pulls the strings in midfield, Michael Clunan never stops running, and up top he has Michael Gash and Adam Marriott. Gash roughs up defences, gives them no peace, and Marriott benefits hugely. After the game at The Walks, Kettering manager Marcus Law described them as one of the best two-man attacks in the league. In the aftermath of the New Year’s Day win, Culverhouse wasn’t about to argue.
“On their day they are outstanding,” he said. “Just a shame Gashy didn’t get his goal. He was a bit down about that – I don’t know why! First half the pair of them were exceptional.”
Marriott got on the scoresheet but scoring honours went to 32-year-old Craig Parker who, incidentally, had scored 67 goals in 71 appearances for Needham in their eastern Counties League days.
Parker isn’t always the first name on the team sheet, but Culverhouse knows what he brings to his team.
“He has great link-up with Gashy, but that is the experience he brings to us,” he said. “He doesn’t really get involved in any of the link-up play and then suddenly the ball is in the box, we break through and his timing is exceptional, it really is.”
Right back Jordan Stewart won’t be involved today: the hamstring injury he suffered early on at Needham Market could keep him out for a couple of weeks. Ryan Hawkins is set to make his 400th appearance.
Lynn will be looking to double Leiston after a 5-1 victory on away soil under Neil Fryatt and Robbie Back in October.
Culverhouse said: “There is no doubt that was a standout result that Neil and Rob achieved at their place.
“They have some very good players all over the park which means we will have to play our ‘A’ game on Saturday.
“We know about them and what they will want to do and we have to be ready.”
Don’t miss Chris Lakey’s exclusive interview with Ian Culverhouse in the new 124-page Pink Un Magazine, out now priced £3.99. To order online go to www.buyamag.co.uk