Fleming backed to stay in the game

Paddy Davitt King's Lynn skipper Mark Warren has backed Craig Fleming to make a return to the game in the future.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn skipper Mark Warren has backed Craig Fleming to make a return to the game in the future.

Fleming yesterday announced his playing retirement after recent surgery failed to cure a nagging ankle problem.

Centre back Warren partnered Fleming in the former Norwich City stalwart's last competitive fixture - Lynn's 1-0 home win over Bromsgrove in October.

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“I wish him well in whatever he decides to do,” said Warren. “He had a fantastic career and he was a fantastic professional. Although I didn't get to know him that well he came across as a really nice fella. With his experience and the number of games he played I'm sure he would do a good job if he ever wanted to go into management or coaching.

“I think you get to a stage when you know its time. The body takes such a battering for so long week in, week out - especially when you get past 35 - it starts to grind down. Flem's has obviously told him it is time to quit.”

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Warren is on the comeback trail as he steps up his own recovery from recent knee cartlidge surgery. The 33-year-old is battling to re-join the squad later this month.

“I'm doing some running now but I want to take it step by step,” he said. “I hope to be back in training before too long and then probably look to get a reserve game or two under my belt. I'm chomping at the bit but I have to hold on to the reins. The surgeon was fantastic. There was a bit of cartlidge floating about that had to be scraped away. It was just a keyhole procedure but in previous years it was the type of surgery that would've left a big scar.”

The experienced defender expects no favours when he returns to the fold due to the form of recent loan recruits Gavin Hoyte and Rikki Bains.

“A lot of people are saying I won't get back in again,” he said. “That's fine. I've got no God given right just because I'm the captain. They are two quality signings who have made us very sturdy defensively. I'm no different to any other player. I have to earn my place. If I get fit for the last month or so and the side is winning then I've got no argument at being left out. I want what is best for King's Lynn.”

Halesowen's midweek win over Gloucester knocked Lynn off the Southern Premier top spot - Keith Webb's men now have three games in hand on the new leaders. Third placed Team Bath also drew level on points after beating Cirencester, but Warren cites Lynn's recent 4-0 romp at the Students as potentially a key moment in the title race.

“It was a big game that really gave us so much belief,” said Warren. “I've always felt that we can go on and push the gap out to six or nine points. If we can manage to do that then they'd find it difficult to catch us.”

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