Linnets are warming up nicely, says Heggs
Paddy Davitt SLIDESHOW: King's Lynn boss Carl Heggs praised his men after an encouraging home pre-season opener against Championship new-boys Leicester. The Linnets led for 77 minutes courtesy of Matt Birley's first half tap-in before Foxes' substitutes Jorrin John and Ricky Sappleton's brace eased the visitors home.
King's Lynn boss Carl Heggs praised his men after an encouraging home pre-season opener against Championship new-boys Leicester.
The Linnets led for 77 minutes courtesy of Matt Birley's first half tap-in before Foxes' substitutes Jorrin John and Ricky Sappleton's brace eased the visitors home.
City fielded a side that included ex-Birmingham striker DJ Campbell, who moved to The Walkers for �1.6m in 2007, and first team squad men James Wesolowski and Levi Porter.
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“I was delighted,” said Heggs. “Everything that we have worked on the boys put into practice. Don't forget that was only the second game we have played together against a Championship club with the likes of DJ Campbell playing.
“The result means nothing to me. I'm not bothered about the result. When I put the changes on with 20 minutes to go we ran out of legs a bit. I had to laugh to myself because they were bringing on fit, 21-year-old Championship-quality footballers and, with all respect to my side, I've got part-time players. My starting XI - and with one or two exceptions that was my strongest side - more than held their own for 60, 65 minutes.”
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Heggs confirmed the club will tie up a deal for former Doncaster academy defender Andy Boyce, who started alongside Craig McAughtrie in central defence. Ex-Aston Villa youngster Phil Green could also earn himself a deal after an impressive first-half cameo wide left.
“Andy is someone we want to take,” said Heggs. “He's 19 years old, 6ft 5in and you've seen him. He is a beast of a boy. The two centre halves showed everything you'll need in the Unibond because we're not playing the likes of Leicester every week.
“Phil had three years with Aston Villa but had six months off last season with a bad injury. He's now coming back and you saw that if we can get the ball to him he is electrifying. That was his first game in five months so we have to get him fit. As for the other trialists we had a look at, I'll have to cut one or two - not because I want to but that is the situation we are in.”
Birley rolled into an empty net on 24 minutes after the razor sharp Owen Story raced clear of the flat footed Foxes' backline. Gerry Taggert's side enjoyed long spells of possession for the rest of the contest - as befitting a Championship squad - but Heggs' men looked well drilled and a constant menace at set pieces.
John lashed the visitors' level on 77 minutes after Craig King robbed Zak Martin. Sappleton scuffed home a minute later when Andy Johnson's attempted clearance ricocheted into his path before the powerful striker calmly slotted Porter's precise pass underneath Daniel Whatsize.
“That is how we set them up,” said Heggs. “To soak up pressure with two banks of four and then hit them on the break. All our training is geared to knowing what we are doing without the ball because too many non-league managers only worry about what they do with it. I want us to be the best side with and without the ball. For the first 65, 70 minutes when they had good possession we didn't really look in danger.
“Shelly (Gareth Sheldon) didn't have a chance here but with those two wide players and his record he will score goals. Jonno is capable of organising in midfield and we've got defenders who can work as window cleaners without ladders.”
Taggert welcomed the work-out.
“I would have been quite happy with the performance if we had still come off losing 1-0,” said the former Foxes' stalwart.
“I wasn't pleased with the first half but in the final 15 minutes or so we started to knock the ball around like I wanted them to do all game. You have to remember there were a lot of young lads out there who had never played against men and it was difficult.”
t King's Lynn: Whatsize, Magunda, Martin, McAughtrie (Smedley 90), Boyce, Lloyd (Webb 73), Story (Moran 81), Johnson (Hodgkinson 90), Sheldon (Robinson 65), Birley (Smith 49), Green (Edwards 45). Sub (not used): Emery.
Goal: Birley (24)
t Leicester (starting XI): Cisak, Milnes, Rowe-Turner, Wesolowski, Bulgar, Parkes, Hayes, Verma, Kee, Campbell, Douglas.
Goals: John (77), Sappleton (78, 89)
t Referee: S Ross (Lincs).