King’s Lynn Town could make a little bit of history in FA Cup
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town have moved into unfamiliar territory this season with their rise up the football ladder.
Promotion to the National League North has seen manager Ian Culverhouse pit his wits against phoenix clubs which have hit hard times, and some of the north's tougher acts.
On Saturday afternoon it's Nantwich in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup - with a little bit of history at stake, albeit slightly contrived. King's Lynn Town have never reached the first round, although in their previous existence before being disbanded in 2009-10, they beat Bishops Stortford before losing to Oldham at The Walks in December 2006.
Whilst the clubs' paths don't cross very often, Culverhouse knows that in the unknown quantity there always lies difficulties, compounded from some within the camp. Culverhouse will be without two of his three central defenders, with defender Chris Smith suffering a damaged elbow in last weekend's 2-2 home draw with Chester. Ryan Fryatt is also out with a knee injury, leaving Rory McAuley as the only recognised centre-back.
However, the way Culverhouse has constructed the squad means he does have options, and the adaptability of Jordan Richards and Ross Barrows to drop into unfamiliar positions has been a real bonus as square pegs slip into round holes.
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While Richards may be required as a holding midfielder either with or without Ryan Jarvis - who missed last weekend's game with an abscess in a tooth - Barrows can slot in at the back. The difference this time is that instead of being part of a three, he may be required in a straight back four. Both three and four have worked for Culverhouse this season, so the failure to bring in temporary cover in the past week is more disappointing than disastrous.
Nantwich play in the Northern Premier, a step below Lynn in the football pyramid, but their recent good form was ended a week ago when they lost 1-0 at home to Radcliffe Borough, which left them eighth in the table.
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"It's a hard game, but we will go up there with confidence for what we are doing, and will try and get through," said Culverhouse.
The prize is a guaranteed £18,750 for the winners, £6,250 for the losers - and a place in Monday's draw, which will also include the likes of Sunderland and Ipswich Town as the 32 non-league clubs are joined by 47 clubs from League One and Two. There is also a little added spice: due to Bury's removal from the Football League and the FA Cup, there is an odd number of clubs entering the draw, so the final club left in the draw on Monday will receive an automatic bye to the second round.