Deal sealed for Linnet's new boy
CHRIS LAKEY King's Lynn's new signing Joe Francis says the influence of two former Norwich City coaches will help him as he bids to make the step-up to the Southern League.
King's Lynn's new signing Joe Francis says the influence of two former Norwich City coaches will help him as he bids to make the step-up to the Southern League.
The 20-year-old was with Woodbridge in the Ridgeons Premier League last season - scoring 29 goals from an attacking left midfield role - but spent time on trial with Championship side Ipswich - under the watchful eye of ex-City coach Steve Foley.
Now he will answer to another former Carrow Road man, Keith Webb, at King's Lynn - and says the influence of both men will hope him improve as a player.
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"I can't wait to start training with him (Webb)," said Francis yesterday. "Training is something that I am looking forward to - at Ipswich we only trained once a week if that - if we had two games a week we didn't normally train. If I keep training I can go to the next level "I love listening and I love training. If I have the chance to stay behind I do and I do extra stuff. I did at Ipswich, staying behind with the coaches down there. I just want to learn.
"I trained with the Ipswich first team squad every day and played four matches and scored two matches in the reserves."
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During his time at Portman Road, Francis came in close contact with Town coach Foley and says it's easy to sum up the ex-City man Foley
influence: "Steve Foley is a brilliant coach."
Francis put pen to paper on a deal which Lynn have been chasing for some time but which appeared to be held up by Woodbridge's demands - until Webb and Woodbridge boss Micky Stockwell thrashed out the differences.
And while a career in the Championship with Ipswich may have come too early for him, Francis is convinced that he has made the right move to help in his ambition of one day playing league football.
"I am looking forward to the challenge and learning from the ex-pros that are here and hopefully use that and push on up again," he said.
"It is another massive step up, but one I am looking forward to and I think as I get fitter and stronger I don't see any problem in scoring goals again at this level.
"It will probably take a couple of games for me to get used to the pace and everything, but I don't see any reason why I can't do it.
"I was with Ipswich for two and a half months and it was through that that I saw what I had to do to get fitter and stronger. Now I have taken what I have learned from there and I am doing it on my own, getting fit on my own. I have had a taste and I have decided I want more.
"I would like to play league football one day, I need to just get myself established at this level, hopefully quickly, do the business here and then move on up."
Francis said the decision to join Lynn's Southern League Premier Division challenge was an easy one to make after the club's initial approaches.
"It was the way they went about it, everything about it impressed me, the way they spoke to me, the way they sold the club to me," he said.
"I spoke to a few people I knew in the game and they all said it was the logical next step up. They said if I had looked higher it probably might not go right."
Linnets chairman Ken Bobbins was delighted to wrap up Francis'
signing, especially after hitches he experienced in the early negotiations with Woodbridge.
"We were always keen to get Joe's signature," he said. "He is the kind of player we want, he is young, he has a good future in front of him and he will benefit, I feel certain, from working with both the players we have here and of course Keith Webb. It can only be good for him and good for King's Lynn."