King's Lynn pitch may be a leveller as Culverhouse plots Dover's downfall in FA Trophy

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:59 14 December 2019

Ian Culverhouse, right, and Paul Bastock face an FA Trophy challenge against Dover Athletic this weekend Picture:: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Ian Culverhouse, right, and Paul Bastock face an FA Trophy challenge against Dover Athletic this weekend Picture:: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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There's a certain irony in Ian Culverhouse referring to the state of The Walks pitch as a 'leveller' for Saturday's FA Trophy game against Dover Athletic.

Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture: PADover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture: PA

The visitors are a division above the Linnets and, despite a poor run of league form, have proved they are comfortable on their travels.

In usual circumstances, Culverhouse, who always has a keen eye on the state of the playing surface, would be desperate for the home grass to be akin to a bowls green - it suits the Linnets' style of football. But this may be an exception as he plots a route past the first round.

In the past couple of months groundsman Steve Curtis has had to watch as more than 330mm of rain has landed on his pride and joy - and that's before 22 blokes go and plough it up with their boots.

"The pitch might be a leveller, so it might work in our favour," said Culverhouse.

"Get them on a good day and they might play us off the park.

"I know we have had torrential rain but it is not conducive to the way we want to play at the moment so we are going to have to find a different way of playing on it, probably be a little more direct than we really want to - it is all about winning games."

And that's something Lynn have become very good at: they are unbeaten in the league at home for more than a year and top the National League North with a run of six consecutive league wins under their belt.

They also haven't conceded a goal in their last four games - two league and two Trophy - which is especially pleasing for a manager whose game as a player was all about stopping opponents from scoring.

Culverhouse said: "Clean sheets win you games, no question about it and we have built our sides on clean sheets in the past but we have been a little bit off of it, but everyone is putting a real shift in - not just the back four, it is the midfield players who work tirelessly and the front two with their presence up front."

Ross Barrows is likely to continue in the back four with Ryan Fryatt and Chris Smith injured and Tom Ward cup-tied.

Dover are managed by former Gillingham boss Andy Hessenthaler.

"He's a tremendous manager, he really is - he has turned Dover around and they are a force this year," added Culverhouse.

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