Ex-Norwich City men go head to head at King's Lynn
PUBLISHED: 20:45 06 December 2019 | UPDATED: 20:45 06 December 2019
Two former Norwich City assistants clash at The Walks on Saturday - another surefire sign that Lynn are rubbing shoulders with some heavy hitters in National League North.
Lee Clark brings his struggling Blyth Spartans side to Norfolk, following a second visit by Russell Slade, with Hereford, and, last week, former Newcastle United defender Mike Williamson, player-manager at Gateshead.
Slade and Williamson both failed to crack The Walks fortress - Slade in league and FA Trophy - because Ian Culverhouse and his Lynn team are cutting an impressive swathe through the division ... helped in no small part to the failure of York City (managed by another Newcastle old boy, Steve Watson) to get more than a point at Hereford in midweek.
"There are some good managers," said Culverhouse. "It is a hard league and there is some really good quality there, and being coached by good managers with bags of experience. It is a great league to be in because it tests you every week, no easy games no matter who you get. We are enjoying it."
Clark's Blyth were thumped 6-0 at home by Brackley and are one off the bottom of the table, although they did win 3-1 at Alfreton in a midweek FA Trophy replay.
Clark took over on June 1, and had to build a whole new squad from scratch - but Culverhouse is backing him to keep Spartans in the division.
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"He has had to build a football club," said the Lynn boss. "They have some good weapons, especially in forward areas and we have to make sure we are on it. But he will get them safe - he is too good a manager."
Culverhouse will have keep a keen eye on the weather all week in the hope the pitch can dry out, which suits his side's style of play.
Patience has been the by-word - the 21-pass move for a stunning goal at Southport illustrated that perfectly - but even with his team sitting top of the table, there were still some groans among the crowd last weekend.
"We have to hope for some good weather," he said. "I don't think it is going to come, but just to dry the pitch out; it is very, very boggy and wet,.but we have got to just keep going.
"I know the crowd got a little bit restless first half (against Gateshead) - I don't know why, I really don't. They know how we play. This is the way we play, we're not going to change. We might play on different areas as we go along because the pitch deteriorates so much, but don't come and moan. Just get behind the team for god's sake. It is not hard, it is the way we play and we are not going to change."
Culverhouse looks set to select from the same squad, with centre-halves Chris Smith and Ryan Fryatt still sidelined. Striker Harry Limb has returned to action following a lengthy illness lay off with a month's loan deal to Boston Town.
The Linnets FA Trophy first round match against Dover Athletic at The Walks on December 14 will be settled on the day - both clubs have agreed that in the event of a draw at 90 minutes, extra-time and, if necessary, penalties will come into play.
Lynn have claimed a double in the Vanarama National League monthly awards, with Adam Marriott named November player of the month, after scoring nine goals in six league games, whilst Culverhouse picked up the manager of the month as Lynn won 16 from a possible 18 points.