Title rivals go head to head at Walks
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn boss Keith Webb piled the pressure on Team Bath ahead of today's titanic Southern League, Premier Division title clash at The Walks.Webb aims to topple the second-placed Students in front of one of the biggest non-league crowds outside the Conference this season.
King's Lynn boss Keith Webb piled the pressure on Team Bath ahead of today's titanic Southern League, Premier Division title clash at The Walks.
Webb aims to topple the second-placed Students in front of one of the biggest non-league crowds outside the Conference this season.
Lynn's chief is ready to fight fire with fire in the championship race following Team Bath's defeat at play-off chasing Bashley in midweek.
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“After that result I think they know a point at our place is not really any good,” said Webb. “They will come looking for us, unlike the majority of sides who arrive at The Walks and challenge us to try and break them down. The onus is usually on us to open teams up.
“It could be very similar to when we played Halesowen. Two very good sides who know their business. I don't think they'll be too many goals.
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“We've trained well. The lads are bubbly but we haven't done anything different. We didn't go overboard with our preparations when we went to their place and it's been the same here. I'll be asking the boys to stay calm. To the supporters I want them to realise Team Bath will try and frustrate us. It'll be all about trying to keep our crowd quiet and hoping they get on the players' backs. They just need to stay patient like they have done all season. To be fair the fans' have been fantastic.”
Leaders Halesowen host mid-table Swindon Supermarine. Webb predicts the table topping Yeltz will pocket maximum points from their remaining three league games.
“I don't expect them to drop another one,” he said. “That's why its no good thinking our match against Team Bath is the end of the matter. No games are easy at this stage but Halesowen have points on the board and the best run-in. We have to play the likes of Brackley - who might still have a squeak of the play-offs - plus Bashley and Gloucester, who will certainly be in or around the play-offs. Halesowen have to be favourites at this point.”
Lynn's top scorer Joe Francis (knee) is a major doubt while Cambridge United defender Gavin Hoyte (hamstring) is ruled out.
“Neither have really trained this week,” said Webb. “We'll miss both those players. Joe is very doubtful but we'll have a look again before the game. He's been tremendous for us - both in creating chances and scoring goals. He gives us that balance on the left and causes opposition defences no end of problems. But we just have to get on with it. That is why we put the squad together that we did. It's not a case of throwing lads in cold because both were missing for Cheshunt last week.”
Ben Chapman (ribs) and in-form striker Matt Nolan (ankle) will undergo fitness tests. Back-up keeper Rob Murray gets his first home league start of the campaign with Scott Howie suspended.
“I've got no problems whatsoever with Rob,” said Webb. “To have a number two of his quality is superb. He's been fantastic for us around the squad. He's a great lad with a great character. Chappers should be ok. He did a little bit of training Thursday and hopefully the same applies to Matty.”
Charlie Defty deputised for Chapman in last week's 4-0 league win over Cheshunt but the dependable left back is also struggling with a chest infection. Webb revealed former Cambridge City trialist Kieran Deane has been drafted into his squad.
The unattached Australian utility player last featured for the club in Lynn's errea League Cup penalty shoot-out win over Hemel Hempstead in January.
“Kieran is still trying to get himself fixed up with a professional club,” said Webb. “But he can play full back or in midfield down the left so he gives us some cover. Charlie has been under the weather all week and he really didn't sound too good when I spoke to him.”
Lynn crushed Team Bath 4-0 at Twerton Park in February but Webb discounts any psychological edge.
“That was a one off game,” he said. “They had a man sent off which helped us to pick them off on the night. We've got to show the same discipline, make them work hard and close them down quickly. It's about putting them under pressure. We were good enough at their place but this is totally different.”
King's Lynn (from): Murray, Bains, Chapman, West, C Defty, Crane, Fisk, Camm, Turner, Bloomfield, Sedgemore, Deane, J Defty, Frew, Nolan, Francis, Melton, McAnally.
Club officials will open extra turnstiles at the Tennyson Road end of the ground today from 1.30pm to cope with the expected demand.
Supporters are also advised to allow longer journey times to combat traffic congestion around the stadium. Some parking restrictions will be in place but the majority of the usual street parking will be available, in addition to the club's car parks situated at either end of the ground.
A turnstile will also be opened at 12.30pm to allow access to the Blue and Gold Bar to watch the Premiership fixture between Arsenal and Liverpool.