Michael Gash knows he faces a battle to retain his starting spot at King’s Lynn Town.

The striker has been a mainstay of Ian Culverhouse’s two promotion-winning sides, having formed a lethal partnership with Adam Marriott.

Gash made his first appearance of the season in the FA Cup defeat at Portsmouth and is likely to be in the squad for Tuesday’s game at home to Bromley.

It marks the end of a difficult period for the 34-year-old, who was struck down by illness, not once but twice, in the summer.

Eastern Daily Press: The familiar sight of Michael Gash causing defenders nightmaresThe familiar sight of Michael Gash causing defenders nightmares (Image: Ian Burt Photography)

"I had pancreatitis first and came out of hospital and four days later was diagnosed with an auto immune blood problem,” said Gash.

“It felt like nothing was going my way and I knew that as soon as I was getting better I couldn’t just come straight back into football.

“It has been tough, physically and mentally. I have lost quite a lot of weight and lost quite a lot of muscle in my legs and arms so it is building everything back slowly, but not trying to do too much and now it is just getting that fitness.

“I am trying to work as hard as I can in training and do extras but obviously that match fitness is only going to be there by playing games.

“Hopefully, I can get more minutes, but I have to fight for that and try and get into the gaffer’s plans.”

As well as Gash and Marriott, Culverhouse has Dayle Southwell and Kairo Mitchell – another player in a similar physical mould to Gash. All four will be needed if Lynn are to stay in the National League.

“This season we have been hit and miss,” admitted Gash. “We now have four good strikers at the club, we have a bench that is full of good players.

“Times have changed – when I first came here, sometimes we couldn’t fill the bench and some people might come in and not make an impact, but now you look at the bench and you look at people in the stand as well, the gaffer has put together a great squad, it is going to be tough but that is what he wants, that is what the players want - they want competition.

Eastern Daily Press: Adam Marriott - Michael Gash's usual partner up frontAdam Marriott - Michael Gash's usual partner up front (Image: Ian Burt Photography)

“It is only going to be good for the club and good for the players to make themselves better.”

For Gash, the light at the end of the tunnel shines much brighter, especially after his cameo appearance at Fratton Park that would have had any Linnets fans licking their lips in anticipation.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “Obviously it has been a long time coming. To get back out there and to come here to Portsmouth and get 10, 15 minutes was a great feeling.

“Of course we want to do well as a team and try and get through to the next round but I think you have seen the difference in class between the two teams.”

Next up are Bromley – remembering that Lynn go into Tuesday’s game on the back of successive wins, and successive clean sheets in the National League. In that respect, the half dozen shipped at Pompey becomes less relevant, except when it comes to ironing out errors, especially from set-pieces, which led to Pompey’s opener within two minutes.

“The boys take pride in clean sheets, especially the back four and the keeper, but as a whole team, as a unit, we try and keep clean sheets,” said Gash.

“The gaffer is always on about it, and especially set-pieces. We will look at it and try and amend that and be that much stronger as a team and hopefully get another clean sheet on Tuesday.

“It is always great to have a good cup run but now you have to concentrate on Tuesday.”

Finally, Gash can step down from the main stand at The Walks where he has had a watching brief for far too long this season, and get involved where he has the most impact.

“I still wanted to be involved with the lads and I am there every step of the way, in the warm-ups, in training, in the changing room, on the bus - it is all about the club, it is not about an individual.”