Linnets boss wants an end to bad habits

Chris Lakey Keith Webb has told his King's Lynn players not to abandon the strengths which earned them promotion last season as they attempt to break a duck in the north-east tonight.

Chris Lakey

Keith Webb has told his King's Lynn players not to abandon the strengths which earned them promotion last season as they attempt to break a duck in the north-east tonight.

The Linnets travel to Gateshead - where they have never won a league game - for the first time in more than quarter of a century, with manager Webb demanding an end to the bad habits which are being punished by Blue Square North rivals.

Playing in a new division brings new challenges, but Webb says the basic tenet remains the same.

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“I prided myself last year on the defensive side of things because I knew that's where we had to get it right first,” said Webb. “We have to get back to that, the way we did things last season, if we are going to make sure we can push up into one of the play-off positions,.

“It's about making the right decision and not allowing your opponents to gain opportunities to hurt you.”

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It's easy to see where Webb's coming from: only twice in the last 10 league outings have Lynn not conceded a goal.

“We have to make sure we start keeping clean sheets because at the moment we are finding it difficult to do that,” he said.

“We are still shipping what I would call goals that are easily avoidable. Any team that wants to do something has to keep clean sheets, and we have the players who can do it. We have the players who can create, it is just a matter of giving them a chance by being strong at the back.”

Lynn committed the cardinal sin of meekly surrendering an early, if fortunate, lead at Southport on Saturday, finally going down 2-1.

“After taking a lead like that you look at tightening things up and making sure you don't allow the opposition to get confident,” Webb added.

“I thought we might have got over that after our two previous performances, but we have to learn that we can't allow the opposition cheap free kicks and possession, because they will punish you.

“The standard of our opponents is better and they don't need too many offers to allow them to put the ball in the box and make something happen.”

Webb's cause isn't helped by the absence of Jack Defty and Andy Fisk through suspension, while Adam Smith is still struggling with calf and heel injuries. Mark Peters (leg) is definitely out, while Bradley Thomas is struggling to overcome an Achilles problem.

“Smith and Thomas are struggling, but both of them might be right for Saturday, which we have to take into consideration,” said Webb. “It's a long journey up there and an early arrival back in Lynn the next morning.

“It's not the best preparation for match but there's no choice.”

Lynn have played three league games at Gateshead, and lost them all. Their hosts finished third in the UniBond Premier Division last season and were joint-top scorers in the top 10 divisions of senior English football, including the Premiership and Football League, with 131 goals, including 93 in the league.

“I know that they are a good footballing side,” said Webb. “They are similar to ourselves in that they have come up this year and while they have home advantage and we have a long way to go, I believe we have the players, if they apply themselves, who can cause them problems.”

Lynn squad (possible): Howie, Graham, Chapman, Weaver, Crane, Sedgemore, Francis, Frew, Mitchell, Turner, Bloomfield, Joachim, Camm, Dwyer, Murray.

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