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By GAVIN CANEY, Sports Reporter
Friday, June 1, 2012
If some Linnets fans thought they faced some tough, and reasonably long-distance away trips last campaign they’ll be in for a shock now their team have been promoted.
Supporters of the ‘new Lynn’ – King’s Lynn Town to give the reformed club its full name – haven’t been treated to the finest facilities on the road in the United Counties League.
However, journeys to Northamptonshire will feel a doddle compared to next season’s trips to places like Sheffield in the Evo-Stik Division One South.
If Gary Setchell’s side thought they had to roll their sleeves up away from home last season, they’ll need to do more of the same, and some, come August.
Teams in the Northern League set-up are tough. It’s not a stereotype. It’s a fact. Two Step Five teams from the North East, West Auckland and Dunston UTS, reached last campaign’s FA Vase final.
Both, Dunston especially, were solid outfits packed with many 6ft plus players. They could play, but they could dig in and scrap for supremacy, and those qualities will only be more evident at Step Four.
While the teams Lynn will face are not as far north as Auckland and Dunston (Step Four equivalents will compete in the Evo-Stik Division One North), Setchell’s Lynn will have to stand up and be counted.
To the delight of many of Lynn’s older fans, who will be used to lengthy journeys having travelled to far-flung places like Newport, Isle of Wight in the club’s old days, their side will face some ‘proper’ clubs – non-league outfits packed with tradition, decent grounds and healthy crowds. Lynn deserve to be there. But it’s going to take a big effort to get out of the division at the first attempt.
Familiar foes like Coalville Town – who dumped the Linnets out of the FA Vase at the semi-final stage two seasons ago – ended up only 14th.
Halesowen Town and Sutton Coldfield Town are proud clubs who will fancy their chances while last season’s runners-up Carlton Town should be a force to be reckoned with again.
It’s why, apart from playing Dereham, Lynn have lined up a pre-season fixture list which contains higher, or same-level sides.
St Neots, Wroxham, Cambridge City and Step Three Lowestoft have already agreed to play Lynn, who will need to hit the ground running to stand any chance next campaign.
An easy pre-season will do Setchell’s outfit no favours, so expect plenty of full-blooded affairs as the Linnets prepare for a dog fight with 21 other teams come the big kick-off in August.