King’s Lynn Town’s ‘Beast’ Dunkley straining at the leash ahead of huge FA Trophy clash
The man King's Lynn Town fans call 'The Beast' can't wait to sink his teeth into AFC Telford United this afternoon.
Striker Russell Dunkley has become a big hit at The Walks since his May arrival after producing a string of monstrous displays as Gary Setchell's number nine.
Goals in three of Lynn's four FA Trophy triumphs this term has only served to elevate his cult status — which will reach new heights today if Dunkley can make the Bucks his latest victim.
The powerful frontman said: 'It's always nice to be considered a fans' favourite. It makes my life a lot easier when I step on to the pitch.
'Jack (Defty, now at Lowestoft) is a very good player in his own right and I'm very similar, but a bit different in other ways, and I guess I was seen as his replacement. So it's brilliant that the fans have taken a liking to me.
'I love playing in front of a crowd that supports me. When you're playing you don't always hear everything the crowd says as you're so focused on the game. I can't remember the first time I heard 'Beast' but I remember thinking it was quite funny.
'I suppose it helped I started off well and scored against Chasetown in my first game and I guess it (Beast nickname) all started from there. I get a bit of harmless banter from lads about it but it's nice to have the fans' backing.'
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The 30-year-old, who along with fellow summer recruits Dan Quigley and Richard Bunting played for Long Buckby last season, helped set up the second-round clash with United by bagging a late winner at Worksop Town in the last 64.
He played up front by himself that day and Dunkley admits he has no qualms about doing the same come 3pm when the Blue Square Premier outfit — who play three levels above Lynn — arrive in town.
'I've always been one to try and lead the line, even if I'm playing with a partner,' said the striker who was paired with new signing Shane Tolley, cup-tied for today's clash, last Saturday.
'I like to get another striker and players around me. I'm used to playing up front on my own.
'It can be tough up there but when we have the ball we have should have three up front as such when people join in.
'The lads, the gaffer, Neil (Fryatt, assistant) and Ross (McNeil, first-team coach), know I'll put a shift in and put my body on the line. It's sometimes why I get looked after a bit in the week and wrapped up in cotton wool because I'm not a young lad anymore.'
The widely-travelled attacker has already scored 10 goals for Setchell's side and sits joint-second in the club's goalscoring charts with Jason Turner. Yet, Dunkley is more than happy for somebody else to grab the headlines against Andy Sinton's men.
Lynn's number nine said: 'It would be fantastic to score the winner again. But if there was a choice of me scoring a goal and us losing, or another player finding the net and us winning, I'd much sooner the latter happen. We've done our set pieces and been given the best preparation possible. It's down to us now.'
Lynn have already dumped Barwell, Carshalton, Eastbourne and Worksop – who all play at a higher-level than Evo-Stik Divison One South Lynn – out of this term's Trophy.
Linnets chief Setchell, hoping to mastermind another upset, said: 'How often does a team beat a side who play three leagues above them? It's literally David v Goliath. But Bradford did it to Arsenal (Capital One Cup) on Tuesday. That was deemed to have been one of the biggest cup upsets for about 15 years. We believe we can do it.'
Cup-tied 'keeper Danny Gay will be replaced by Alex Street. Striker Danny Beaumont is injured.