Two huge games - then it's World Cup duty for Linnets striker

Kairo Mitchell in action for King's Lynn Town against Sutton United

Kairo Mitchell in action for King's Lynn Town against National League leaders Sutton United - Credit: Ian Burt

Kairo Mitchell has reason to smile amid the gloom at The Walks. 

The 23-year-old has scored twice in the past four games for the Linnets and after a huge domestic week ahead, gets on a  plane heading for El Salvador, via Mexico, to resume his international career with Grenada. 

Chris Smith in action for King's Lynn Town against Sutton

Chris Smith keeps his eyes on the ball during King's Lynn Town's defeat to Sutton United - Credit: Ian Burt

Mitchell has perhaps been a victim of the jigsaw puzzle planning that manager Ian Culverhouse has to put together for games – with not enough pieces to make it look as he wants, but nonetheless managing to hide the obvious gaps. It means tactics are dictated by meagre resources – and Mitchell, despite his recent form, is struggling to get a run in the team. 

On Saturday he had to watch from the stands for an hour, by which time Sutton United had scored the only goal of the game, after another defensive error, and were in management mode. 

“It was a tight game, they are a good outfit, but I feel that we went toe to toe with them and did ourselves justice, apart from one bit of sloppy play,” said Mitchell. 

Simeon Jackson leading the line for King's Lynn Town against Sutton

Simeon Jackson leading the line for King's Lynn Town against Sutton - Credit: Ian Burt

“I think we played well in the first half - it is just a lack of concentration and quality at times that pegs us back, but we go again, we have got to go again at the end of the day.” 

Culverhouse opted to miss post-match media duties, but Mitchell was happy to pass on the manager’s pre-match instructions – which were evident as the Linnets again lifted their game to match more illustrious opponents. 

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“The gaffer gave clear instructions to the boys when they went out to just go and play our way, be consistent with it, and keep trying and believing in the way that we are playing and I think it showed in the first half that they were a bit surprised by it. 

“It came off at times, it’s that difference between levels at the top and not much goes for you at the bottom.” 

Sonny Carey in action for King's Lynn Town against Sutton United

Sonny Carey was King's Lynn Town's man of the match against Sutton - Credit: Ian Burt

The elephant in the Lynn dressing room is the absence of nine players through furlough – a number of them injured anyway – which leaves sharp focus on the rest. On Saturday, there were just 13 fit players available. Fitness is an issue. So is morale. 

“It’s as good as it can be,” Mitchell said. “We are here to focus on playing football. It is difficult, I’m not going to lie to you and say it isn’t, but we are here to play football. What we do on the pitch is all that matters really. 

“It is a short squad, not many bodies around us at the minute. All the boys are doing their best to keep themselves fit and able to give the team 100pc when they are called on.” 

The FA will soon rubber-stamp the decision not to relegate from the National League, which means Lynn are safe in that respect, and word is they will see out the season, rather than waiting to see the severity of Dover’s punishment for failing to fulfil fixtures before making a decision.  

King's Lynn Town v Sutton United

Tai Fleming challenges for the ball during King's Lynn Town's defeat to Sutton United - Credit: Archant

“Everyone wants to play football at the end of the day,” said Mitchell. “That was going around the changing room – are we going to continue and keep playing and obviously since we have been told that is the case and we are going to continue, everyone has been happy for that.” 

Mitchell will be available for Lynn’s tough games at home to second-placed Hartlepool on Tuesday and at third-placed Torquay on Saturday before jetting off to South America for a World Cup qualifying game for Grenada, who he first played for in October, 2017 

“We have two games, but only one I am allowed to play in because of Covid regulations,” he added. “I will be flying out on the 21st and back on 29th.  

“It is an honour. They (El Salvador) will be a good team, strong.  Obviously it is a different style of play that I will have to get used to but it will be enjoyable. 

“I have played previously, the Grenada national team is one that is developing and is developing well and it is under new management under Michael Findlay, a Canadian coach who has just come in. He has been looking to get a few of the UK-based players out there so he can look at the himself and I have been fortunate to be called up s that he can do that.”