Webb: Francis can play higher
King's Lynn boss Keith Webb has challenged Joe Francis to build on his FA Trophy starring role at Cambridge United.Francis was a constant menace to the Blue Square Premier promotion hopefuls despite Lynn's 5-0 first round exit at the Abbey Stadium.
King's Lynn boss Keith Webb has challenged Joe Francis to build on his FA Trophy starring role at Cambridge United.
Francis was a constant menace to the Blue Square Premier promotion hopefuls despite Lynn's 5-0 first round exit at the Abbey Stadium.
The flying wideman agreed a two year contract extension in September after his summer transfer from Ridgeons outfit Woodbridge - but Webb insists Francis can eventually operate in non league's top tier.
“He showed he could belong at that level,” said Webb. “Its performances like that which get you moves. I think he left an impression with the opposition - a positive one, but Joe knows he's still got a lot to learn. It wouldn't be fair to single out one particular person. I felt everyone played their part. Collectively we gave everything we could.
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“Cambridge's full time fitness played a big part. Our preparation was poor. We couldn't train because of the frozen pitches. They are in everyday of the week so we knew they'd be fitter and sharper in and around the 18 yard box. That's what we are aspiring to.”
Webb is convinced he was right to leave 12-goal top scorer Danny Bloomfield out of his starting line up in a bid to frustrate United.
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“I'd watched them play Kidderminster and just felt we needed that stability in midfield,” he said. “If Mark Warren had played it might've been a different story. I rang him on the morning of the game and he didn't sound right. So that put us on the back foot, but it wasn't the system that lost us the game. We still created chances, we just didn't take them.
“Then when we tried to go more attack-minded the game became a lot more open. We conceded another two and I think that flattered them. When it was nip and tuck we played the better stuff.”
United assistant boss Alan Lewer backed Webb's side to clinch Southern League, Premier Division promotion after a gutsy effort.
“I thought King's Lynn did very, very well,” he said. “They passed the ball well, as we knew they would, and I think they will go on to win their league. They're no mugs - they got a 3-1 win in the last round against Eastbourne, who are top of the Conference South - and they've come here and done particularly well.
“They're a good side. I watched them last week and they've got some good players. The boy Mulryne in midfield used to play for Man United and Norwich and he's very good on the ball, the big lad Defty up front did well for them, holding it up and causing problems, and Bloomfield went on and was lively.
“Give them credit - they didn't come to shut up shop or to lump it. They passed it and they looked a good side. The difference at any level is finishing, and we took our goals well and deserve to be in the hat.”
United's reward is a second trip to neighbours Histon for a place in the last 16 on Saturday, January 12.