Gary Setchell believes King’s Lynn Town can enter the New Year in confident mood — because they now deliver in the big matches.

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The Linnets won 38 of their 55 competitive games in 2012 as they achieved promotion to Evo-Stik Division One South and reached the United Counties League Cup final.

However, that huge 69pc win ratio didn’t include end-of-season victories over Long Buckby and St Ives Town, when Lynn needed them most, as they ended last term with two sets of runners-up trophies.

But having seen off league leaders Coalville Town this campaign, as well as dumping out five higher-level sides during an epic FA Trophy run, Setchell insists his men are well prepared to make sure they are not 2013’s nearly men.

The Lynn boss, whose charges host fellow high-fliers Stamford this afternoon, weather permitting, said: “2012 was a good year for myself and the club. To get back to Step Four and gain promotion was a great achievement.

“We’ve raised our level since and I’m really pleased that we’ve got over the ‘big game bottlers’ tag which was thrown around quite regularly about us.

“We’ve put it to bed on six or seven occasions this season. After every disappointment we’ve soon put the wrongs right. Hopefully that can continue. Stamford is another big game and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Daniels, second, arrive at The Walks for a mouth-watering New Year’s Day derby of sorts as both sides look to kick-start their 2013 glory charge.

Setchell’s men sit two places, and seven points behind Stamford — having played a game less — and the Lynn boss admits today’s clash is key if both clubs want to keep alive their ambitions of catching table-topping Coalville.

The Linnets chief said: “We don’t need to go on a run quite like last year (Lynn didn’t lose a league game in 2012 until April, against Buckby) to get into the play-offs.

“We just need to turn a few of the losses into draws and a few of those into wins. We need to be consistent. Taking about 30 points, or more, from our last 22 games will be key for us to get into the top five.

“For us to win the league we’d need probably another 50 points. They’re the margins we’re dealing in. I don’t think the best five teams will finish in the top five. I think it will be the most consistent. And we’re more than capable of being one of those. “It’s a massive game for both of us if we have got any ambitions of catching Coalville. It’s a must-win for both teams. A draw will play right into Coalville’s hands.”

Stamford, being temporarily managed by ex-Linnet David Staff, are eight points behind the Leicestershire pace-setters.

They beat a much-changed Lynn 3-1 in a League Cup tie in November and Setchell expects more attacking intent come 3pm.

“Staffy (Staff) will be making sure they attack and give it their all, so we will, and I think it’s all set up to be a classic between two good teams,” said Setchell.

“We’ll be going into it all guns blazing. And if we have a magnificent January, like we did last year, and beat everyone — including Stamford and Coalville — who knows how good the table could look at the start of February?”

Defender Ross Watson will miss the visit of his former club through suspension after Lynn’s trip to Carlton Town on Saturday fell foul of the weather. Striker Danny Beaumont makes his long-awaited comeback from a knee injury.

- For updates for today’s game follow reporter Gavin Caney on Twitter (link on right-hand side of the page).

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