Local football: Linnets back in action, Magpies flying, and historic day for Sheringham
PUBLISHED: 14:57 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:57 18 September 2020
Ian Burt Photography
While King’s Lynn Town resume friendly action, it’s the serious stuff for every other team on Norfolk – CHRIS LAKEY looks at Saturday’s local football offering
Ian Culverhouse will be hoping to bring some normality to King’s Lynn Town’s pre-season schedule.
The Linnets host Kettering Town – just their fifth outing as they build up to their historic first campaign in the National League.
It hasn’t been ideal for the Linnets boss, who saw the opening game, at Bishop’s Stortford, cancelled because of a waterlogged pitch. Lynn have had trips to Stowmarket, Rushden & Diamonds and Royston as well as a home game against Norwich City Under 23s, but a carefully-prepared summer schedule suffered another blow last week when a scheduled game against Braintree was scrapped because a member of staff’s household had returned a positive coronavirus test.
“The good news in relation to the Covid situation is that the club’s member of staff’s test came back negative following the positive result of a family member,” said the club. “The member of staff continues to self isolate at present.”
With just a fortnight until the scheduled start of the season in front of BT cameras when Yeovil head to The Walks, Culverhouse has chosen a strong test for his team – it could also see a return to The Walks for Ryan Fryatt, who joined the Poppies after being released by Lynn at the end of last season.
Simon Power has returned to training so the Norwich City loan player could make his first appearance of the summer for the Linnets, with Culverhouse likely to use as many players as possible. Michael Gash is still sidelined because of illness while strike partner Adam Marriott is recovering from an ankle injury.
Magpies league opener
Adam Gusterson takes his Dereham Town side to Aveley for their first game of the Isthmian North League season.
Dereham have a clean bill of health, with Adam Smith and Jake Imrie back in the squad after shaking off niggles.
“It’s an extremely tough start to the season,” Gusterson told the club’s official web site. “They were the second best team in the league last season and have maintained a good number of their squad whilst adding in a number of players with experience from a level or two above.
“I think it’s one of the toughest fixtures we could open up with, but we have to embrace that and go there with a plan of how we can get a result.”
Gusterson has had to take account of Aveley’s 4G playing surface in his preparations.
“This all comes into the planning of the shape we will play and personnel we will select to start the game,” he added. “We have to try and ensure that what is an advantage for any team who has a 4G pitch to benefit from, is not one when we play them.”
The Magpies head out with confidence, having opened their season with a 3-2 FA Cup win over Whitton United a week ago.
“Pleased to get off to a winning start,” said Gusterson. “We grew as the game wore on and second half we stamped our authority and took control which was the challenge set to the lads at half-time. I thought we played some good stuff and overall we dealt with what was a tricky fixture against a side who were three games into their competitive season, well.
“It (the FA Cup) is hugely important. It has the potential to shape our future with the financial reward a good run can create and that can never be underestimated for a club at our level. The league is of course our main focus and our attention this week has been purely towards the Aveley game which represents a very different challenge to the one last weekend.”
Sheringham will enjoy making history as they make their debut in the FA Vase, for the first qualifying round.
The Thurlow Nunn Division One North side host Premier Division Newmarket Town and are hoping for a big crowd at Weybourne Road – for advance tickets go to www.sheringhamfootballclub.co.uk.
Former Vase winners Diss Town host Norfolk rivals Fakenham, while Norwich United go to Godmanchester Rovers. Downham Town host Ely City, while Mulbarton Wanderers are away to Peterborough North Star.
There’s still plenty of league action, with Wroxham hoping to follow up their midweek win over Gorleston and make it three wins out of three when they head to winless Stanway Rover, who have drawn three of their four games. Swaffham have lost their three games and have a tough test at home to a Kirkley & Pakefield side who have won all three of theirs. Thetford are at home to last season’s high-fliers Stowmarket while Gorleston welcome FC Clacton.
Lowestoft Town start the new Southern Premier Division Central League season buoyed by a 2-0 midweek win over Bury Town that sealed a place in the Suffolk Premier Cup final.
The Trawlerboys, who will play Needham Market in the final, have a trip to Barwell.
“It was a perfect end to pre-season going into our league opener on Saturday,” said Blues boss Jamie Godbold. “It was competitive game against a good side and we are obviously delighted to be in the final.”