Why King’s Lynn Town boss needs to dish out some TLC
Ian Culverhouse has a challenge getting the best out of striker Harry Limb – the King's Lynn Town boss discussed the teenager's situation with CHRIS LAKEY
Harry Limb's arrival at King's Lynn Town in the summer was greeted with some fanfare.
The club, quite rightly, put a few bells and whistles on the affair, given the young man had spent the previous 18 months at Premier League side Burnley.
Limb had ripped it up on the local scene with Lynn's neighbours Wisbech Town, where he scored 22 goals, and it was on the back of that sort of form that the teenager earned his big move.
He was, as they say, bigged up on arrival in west Norfolk, but for the 19-year-old – and Lynn – it hasn't quite gone to plan.
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The man who signed him, Simon Clark, departed in September, and Ian Culverhouse is, if you like, picking up the pieces.
Limb has started just four league games in the Southern League Central Premier, scoring two goals – in successive games under the short-term management of Neil Fryatt and Robbie Back. Clark started him once in the league, Fryatt and Back three times and he has appeared as a substitute twice in the league for Culverhouse.
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That Culverhouse has a player on his hands is not in doubt – it's trying to get the best out of him that is the challenge.
There may be a few mental scars to deal with as well as the physical issue which kept him out of the squad for the home game against Bedworth last weekend and could do on Saturday, at Redditch – Limb has tendonitis in his knee.
Of equal urgency is the need to add numbers to a thin-looking squad, because when Lynn need to change things up top, they don't have much in reserve.
Culverhouse needs to get Limb back and fully functioning. But how?
'I think he needs an arm around him and a little bit of tender care,' said Culverhouse. 'But he needs a run of games, that's the thing, and at the moment with us having such a shallow squad it doesn't allow him to do that.
'Now he has picked up an injury so it is frustrating, it is stop-start for him. But he needs games and he will grow in confidence because his confidence is quite low at the moment.'
Culverhouse knows a player when he sees one, and first impressions of Limb are favourable, despite the obvious issues.
'He gets into good areas and his movement is very, very good off the ball and we have just got to progress that,' said Culverhouse. 'We need him on the field but we just have to be careful with this injury because we don't want it to be massively long term, even though we are missing him at the moment.'
While Limb remains a doubt, there are also question marks over Aaron Jones, although Rory McAuley, who picked up a knock a week ago looks likely to be available.
Lynn's trip is the first of three successive away games and they take a nine-game unbeaten run to Redditch, who are 16th in the table.
'We will enter the game intent on continuing our recent run of form,' Culverhouse told the club's official website. 'Last weekend was disappointing, but we must learn from it and move to the challenge that Redditch pose. We have set our standards high in our previous games but we couldn't replicate it against Bedworth, so we draw a line under it and move on.
'In all of my time being in and around football there have always been surprise results. We had one on Saturday and Redditch created one (4-4 at Kettering Town) in the week so they happen. That's why we all love the game and that element that it throws up. I'm sure that result has really buoyed them up and will be really buzzing ahead of our visit.
'I'm very surprised to see them where they are in the table, but they seem to have picked up a little recently and are moving up the league. In previous games against them, it has always been a hell of a battle with very little to chose between the sides. It's a 3G surface as well, so you add all these factors together and it's very easy to see why I'm expecting a tough afternoon.'
Redditch boss Paul Smith recently signed target man Mitch Piggon from Birmingham-based Romulus and experienced midfielder Richard Batchelor, from Highgate United.
'I also hope to have another signing over the line ahead of Saturday's game against Kings Lynn,' said Smith, who was in optimistic mood ahead of today's game. 'I've spotted weaknesses and that is something I hope to expose,' he said. 'I'm just hoping we get a good crowd behind us on Saturday because it can make a real difference. The crowds have been going up recently and I believe people are buying into what we are trying to achieve.'