Why captain Clunan is Linnets middle man

Michael Clunan - King's Lynn Town v Sutton United

Michael Clunan - leader of the pack at King's Lynn Town - Credit: Ian Burt

Linnets skipper Michael Clunan has found himself the man in the middle in more ways than one recently. 

The midfielder has battled his way back into the team and turned in some fine performances – the second half of Lynn’s draw at Notts County was the perfect example as he wrestled the game back from the hosts to help Lynn leave with a well-deserved point. 

Michael Clunan for King's Lynn Town at Notts County

Michael Clunan in action during a fine performance at Notts County - Credit: Ian Burt

Of the field, he’s become something of shop steward, the middle man between players and owner Stephen Cleeve as they work out the financial tangle that links both dressing room and boardroom. 

“I am just the skipper,” said Clunan, the club’s longest serving player having joined in the summer of 2015. 

“Obviously I have to take care of the lad. I am probably the point of contact for the powers that be that run the club and I will do my best to get everyone what they want and obviously my best interests are for the club. 

Alfie Payne - King's :Lynn Town v Hartlepool United

Alfie Payne battles for possession as King's Lynn Town draw 2-2 with Hartlepool United at The Walks - Credit: Ian Burt

“We have a situation where we have a squad of 13, we’ve had a few players come in like Alfie Payne and Jacko (Simeon Jackson), who have done brilliantly for us. This is the situation and we are here to concentrate on what goes on, on the pitch. What goes on behind the scenes, and fair play to the chairman he has kept us going, hopefully we can see it out for the rest of the season and be a better team for it next year.” 

Clunan, who came through the ranks at Norwich City's academy, has been in and out of the team this season, but with the like of Cameron King and Ryan Jarvis on furlough, he is taking his current responsibilities in his stride. 

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“I feel good,” he said. “I have been nursing a bit of an injury from two months ago and I had an injection in my foot, so it is nice to get back playing. Obviously I was out of the team five or six games so, like Sonny Carey, anyone, you get minutes and your performances do get getter – you get fitter, you get stronger.  

Michael Gyasi in action for King's Lynn Town against Hartlepool United

Goal scorer Michael Gyasi in action for King's Lynn Town against Hartlepool United - Credit: Ian Burt

“I feel like I still have loads to go to compete at this level. By no means am I the finished article, but I am going to keep working hard and see where it takes me.” 

Lynn head to Torquay this weekend knowing they have what it takes to stand toe-to-toe with some of the league’s top teams. They held Torquay, then top of the table, to a goalless draw at The Walks in December – the first time the Gulls had not hit the back of the net in the league. The draw at Notts County, a narrow defeat to leaders Sutton a week ago and then the midweek draw at home to second-placed Hartlepool were all admirable in the circumstances. 

Clunan does reveal a sense of frustration, though, that Lynn haven’t managed to put one of the big boys away – although with a full squad available the story might have been different. 

“The performances have been good lately but I think the lads have got fed up with people patting us on the back and saying well played and we’re just not getting the results,” he said. 

Tyler Denton - King's Lynn Town v Hartlepool United

King's Lynn Town defender Tyler Denton during the draw with Hartlepool United - Credit: Ian Burt

“Tonight (against Hartlepool) was about putting a good performance in and backing up what we have already done. 

“We’re happy with a point, but disappointed with the way we conceded the second goal – it is a sloppy goal for us but they are second in the league so we take a point and move on. 

“The performances have been good lately, we have been creating chances the way we are playing, moving the ball well. Considering the circumstances as well I think the performances have been really good, and that is credit to the lads in there. 

"Tonight was a good incentive for us to keep going because it has been tough. But there is not a huge gap between us and the top teams in this league, so we will keep on dusting ourselves down and go again on Saturday. 

“We have been controlling the ball quite well, it is what we are known for, what we are good at, that is what we have done for the past couple of years, but I think we have just not been ruthless enough in either box. We create seven or eight chances and only come away with one goal, whereas the opposition get one opportunity, one sniff, and it is in the back of the net. That’s the difference between the top end teams, like Sutton United, Torquay United and Hartlepool, and us.”