Culverhouse looking to get Lynn out of a spot of bother
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ian Culverhouse will demand his King's Lynn Town players dig themselves out of a hole when they head north to Altrincham - Chris Lakey looks at some of the conundrums facing the manager.
The Linnets are paying for their inconsistency, sometimes in spectacularly disappointing fashion as the goals continue to be shipped in increasing quantities. Half a dozen at Portsmouth can be explained away, but the combination of poor finishing and sloppy defending cost them four in the midweek home defeat by Bromley – who were not as superior as the three-goal margin suggests. Beat Port Vale one week, get tonked by Sutton a few days later. Then win two inside four days. The Bromley reverse was unnecessary, even taking into account FA Cup exploits.
Who does Culverhouse play? Let’s assume it’s a choice of Kairo Mitchell, Adam Marriott or Dayle Southwell. All have their attributes, but Mitchell will know he should have done better with two early opportunities in midweek - that may have changed the complexion of the game. “We are fragile at the moment and we need goals to give us confidence and I think that would have given us confidence and we would have grown onto the game,” said the manager. Southwell works extremely hard and scores, Marriott is a goal scorer who looks close to full fitness after his summer injury . Does he play one, can he risk playing two? Lynn miss a big presence up top, but more than that they miss two strikers – but at this level it is a risk. Simon Power is rapid and strong , Jamar Loza quick and tricky - both have goals in them and more of a midfield mindset. Selection isn't easy.
What to do with Michael Gash? Culverhouse says he has looked at a the possibility of a loan spell to get his match fitness up - “He just needs minutes and I can’t get him on there. That (a loan) is a situation we’re looking into but it’s got to be the right fit for him.” Lynn have a reserves side, which hasn't been playing of late, obviously, but the difference in standard suggests that might not help as much as something a little closer to National League level. Gash is easily the biggest ‘miss’ so far this season: brave and brilliant in attack, and does a great job in defence. Which is an area Culverhouse is probably more concerned with ...
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The media had a big of a wait after the game on Tuesday, for the usual post-match chat – Culverhouse had been in the dressing room laying down a few home truths. The verdict: “We’ve got to be better in both boxes, we really have, and we’re getting punished now for every little mistake we make... too easy conceding... I have told them we have got to be better. We’re getting punished now for every little mistake we make by picking the ball out of the net....It looks like we are becoming a bit brittle and we shouldn't be... naive." Culverhouse was a defender by trade and won't be happy at the lack of commitment shown by some of his defenders when it came to that crunch moment.
There will be questions marks over a few – all in defence, which doesn’t help the manager’s hopes of a settled and sturdy backline. Kyle Callan-McFadden went off in midweek, a bit of ‘bulk loading’ on his hamstring, while Rory McAuley missed the game with a back injury sustained in a heavy landing at Pompey. Right-back Aaron Jones will be very close after a knee injury. If Jones is fit, it gives the manager the option of moving Ross Barrows into the centre of defence if needs be. Tai Fleming came on in midweek - "a brave boy, strong lad, quick as well.," said Culverhouse.
Altrincham are fourth in the table, Lynn 14th. The hosts have won four of their last five - beaten by Bromley in the other - but are the only team n the top eight with a negative goal difference: they have scored only 12 in their 13 games, the joint worst return in the top 15. Their manager is Phil Parkinson, who led Altrincham to promotion via the play-offs this year.