Bobbins' hands-off warning to rivals

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins yesterday issued a 'hands off' warning to the club's non-league rivals after agreeing contracts with skipper Mark Warren and homegrown talent Jack Defty.

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins yesterday issued a 'hands off' warning to the club's non-league rivals after agreeing contracts with skipper Mark Warren and homegrown talent Jack Defty.

Bobbins insisted the Linnets' are desperate to tie down key personnel for an all out title push next season after back-to-back playoff exits.

The influential duo join Danny Bloomfield and Greg Crane under contract at The Walks. Midfield trio Mark Camm, Steve Melton and Charlie Defty have already committed their futures to the club.

Bobbins also revealed Linnets' chief Keith Webb is close to agreeing terms with a first choice keeper.

Webb confirmed earlier this week he was in advanced talks with former Norwich custodian Paul Crichton and ex-Scottish U21 stopper Scott Howie.

“We want a backbone to the squad in place as early as we can,” said Bobbins. “By getting things settled it stops speculation about Jack going to Stamford or Wazza returning to Fisher or whatever else you might here over the summer. Putting these lads under contract to King's Lynn will mean any uncertainty now goes out of the window.

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“We've adjusted the contracts we offer to the ridiculous ones of a few years ago when it cost thousands of pounds to get people off the books. Negotiations are very rarely straight forward, especially at our level, but everyone is happy.

“Whether we put any more players under contract is down to Keith. He is going through the squad systematically, but he doesn't feel it needs a major upheaval.”

Bobbins is confident of keeping the rest of Webb's first team squad following the departures of Shaun Marshall, Louis Blois and Jamie Gould.

“Apart from the lads who were released, everyone else has stated they want to stay,” he said. “As we know, outside influences can come to bear and things change very quickly. Teams over the summer will suddenly get an influx of cash and attack players - sometimes with silly money and it does sway them to a certain degree.”

The Linnets' chairman will not be held to ransom in his own recruitment drive for another expected campaign at Southern League level - pending final FA ratification early next week.

“We're 99.9% certain of staying in the same league,” said Bobbins. “I can't categorically say that for certain until Monday but it's definitely helped us with regard to looking at new players. There are some interesting names about, but it's difficult trying to attract higher league players.

“They want to relocate in the football league or the conference. You tend to find they will hold on until the last month or so of close season before making a final decision. We want to have our squad stabilised within the next few weeks.”

Bobbins is also poised to unveil Webb's new assistant manager with Shaun Carey set to revert to a playing role after missing seven months of last season with a broken leg.

“Two heads are better than one is a sound adage,” he said. “Even under Tommy Taylor I felt we needed someone else to bounce ideas off, to share the workload and act as a safety valve for all the pressures of the job.”