Linnets captain missing

PUBLISHED: 11:53 08 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:20 14 September 2010

King's Lynn captain Sam McMahon is out of today's Southern League, Premier Division crunch against Merthyr Tydfil. Lynn's playmaker picked up a knee injury during the midweek defeat to title rivals Salisbury.

King's Lynn captain Sam McMahon is out of today's Southern League, Premier Division crunch against Merthyr Tydfil.

Lynn's playmaker picked up a knee injury during the midweek defeat to title rivals Salisbury. Influential central defender Grant Cooper (hamstring) is also a major doubt as Linnets chief Tommy Taylor bids to re-ignite Lynn's promotion charge.

“Sam rang me to say his knee has just blown up,” confirmed Taylor. “Matty Peters will come in and he gives us some energy in midfield which might allow Cedric (Anselin) to push further forward.

“Coops is touch-and-go after missing Salisbury. I won't take any risks. If he's not fit Danny Hammond will start - other than that I won't tinker too much.”

Lee Hyde and Adam Jones are included in the squad as cover, but Taylor can ill afford to lose key personnel after Lynn's eight-match winning streak was halted against the Whites.

The Linnets boss has settled for some reverse psychology after picking through the wreckage of Tuesday's deflating 3-1 defeat.

“We don't have to feel sorry for ourselves,” he insisted. “Let's pick ourselves up and go again. Salisbury's situation will take care of itself now. If we win seven matches then we go up - one way or the other. We are in the playoffs whatever happens so it doesn't matter who we end up playing, whether it's in the first or second match.

“The only thing I would say is if we nick second place then we'll be at home with a massive crowd behind us. The pressure is off now - we can relax and get back to passing the ball. We didn't do that against Salisbury.”

Taylor is adamant one bad night at the office should not overshadow Lynn's achievement in gatecrashing the title race.

“It doesn't suddenly mean we become a poor team,” he said. “There's no need to be downhearted. Look at what we have done over the entire season to get into this position. I still maintain we dropped 12 silly points, the players agree, and if you add those on where would we have been.

“The boys were on a great run, but great runs come to an end. It was just unfortunate it happened in such a big game with so much at stake. We didn't defend set plays and got punished. They had two centre forwards and the left winger who took the game to us while the rest of the side sat in.”

Mid table Merthyr beat Evesham 3-0 on the same night Salisbury were putting Lynn to the sword after a humiliating 4-1 defeat to bottom-club Chesham three days earlier.

“Let's hope the team who got beat last weekend turns up,” said Taylor. “They played a five in midfield when we went there in January. It was a tough match, but really with the situation we are in now it's not about the opposition. Let's just focus on our game.”

The Welsh outfit is already planning for next season with former Liverpool legend Ian Rush in talks to become a technical football advisor at Penydarren Park.

t King's Lynn (from): Benstead, Higgs, West, Smith, Cooper, Carey, Camm, Anselin, Defty, Hammond, Nolan, Charles, Harvey, O'Halloran, Peters, Hyde, Jones.

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