Business as usual for milestone-manager Gary Setchell ahead of FA Trophy clash for King’s Lynn Town
- Credit: Matthew Usher
It may be a special day for Gary Setchell – but he'll feel the same as he always does.
The passionate King's Lynn Town boss has guided his hometown Linnets up two tiers of the non-league ladder since becoming sole manager in October, 2011. During that time the ex-professional has also enjoyed fine runs in two glamorous knockout competitions.
Today's test comes in the shape of Conference North Harrogate Town with a place in the FA Trophy first round at stake. But it'll also be a memorable occasion for Setchell as he leads his troops out for the 250th time.
The Linnets' fourth longest-serving boss of all time said: 'I see 250 games as a big achievement, especially when you look at some of the great managers Lynn have had.
'When I walk down the side of the main stand to come into the ground on a matchday, every time I still get that same buzz. Today will be no different. That's just how it is with King's Lynn and this being my hometown club. People say I talk honestly and passionately about Lynn but you can't act that. It's just how I feel about this club.
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'If I do go on to manage elsewhere then I don't know if I'd feel as passionately about them as I do Lynn. I'd like to think I would, but Lynn will always be special to me.'
The 39-year-old's stock has risen since he swapped Wisbech Town for their fierce rivals four-and-a-half years ago. Another Trophy scalp this afternoon against a side that play one level above them would further suggest Setchell is destined for bigger things.
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And while he knows it's going to be a massive ask for his Evo-Stik Premier Division players, the Lynn boss is looking forward to trying to mastermind another big cup shock.
'Harrogate with their level and big spending power definitely makes us underdogs. But we're comfortable with that tag,' said Setchell, who currently has a 66pc win ratio having triumphed in 164 of his 249 matches in charge.
'It was the same when we played Fylde (FA Cup) and if it wasn't for defensive errors we would have beaten them. We were 17 points behind Coalville and won the league (2012/13). We've taken scalps in the Trophy in the past and this season. Why can't we have another memorable Saturday at The Walks today? It's going to be very, very hard but there's no reason we can't do it.'
Lynn, who will pocket £4,000 prize money if they progress, will be without the suspended Henry Eze while Sam Mulready is set to return after having his broken nose operated on. Captain David Bell, who watched mid-table Harrogate on Saturday while he was injured, will have a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.
'We've had a chat, but with David it wouldn't matter if I sent him to watch Manchester United, he'd think we can still beat them,' said Setchell.
'He's a confident lad, we missed him and Henry at Blyth, and some people expect too much from his sometimes because he's David Bell. He brings calm and class in tight areas and we miss that when he's not there.'