Linnets must pick up where they left off
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ian Culverhouse will ask his players to continue where they finished in midweek when Maidenhead visit The Walks on Saturday.
After a lacklustre game and a half - against Dagenham seven days ago and then Stockport in midweek - by a team “dragged in off the streets” Culverhouse wants a repeat of Lynn’s last 45 minutes of football, when they outplayed a team gunning for promotion.
Culverhouse revealed after the 4-0 defeat to Stockport he had opted not to make any substitutions in a policy of “you got us into the mess, it’s up to you to get us out of it”.
“I just wanted them to work,” said the Linnets boss. “We didn’t work for the first half so they had to show me that they were willing to do it and I just thought no, I am not making any changes, go and do it.
“It was a big question mark over them at half-time, it could have gone both ways - they could have given up and we could have even been on the end of a cricket score really but, no, I was pleased with them second half.”
That they responded so well typifies one of the conundrums of the season - how does this team of near-strangers so often manage to turn on the style? The job now is to take it into Saturday’s game.
“Hopefully, yes, because as good as we were second half we were poor on Saturday (against Dagenham) so it is that consistency levels that we can’t get at the moment - but that is what you are going to get with really young players, we are a young group at the moment,” said Culverhouse. “I was pleased with them second half, they didn’t wilt and they didn’t shy away from it, they actually got on the ball and tried to play our way as well and we moved them into good pockets, I know they (Stockport) are comfortable and they have got their slippers on and I understand that, but I was pleased with them in the second half.”
The truth of the matter is that this is not Ian Culverhouse’s team - that’s been stripped of it worthwhile parts, like a car in a scrap yard. What spares Culverhouse has picked up for the new, cheaper model, have quality - Ethan Coleman and Rob Howard would, in different circumstances, be definite ‘keepers’. But look at the team that started and finished the game on Tuesday and two thirds of them are unlikely to be around for the start of next season.
“They will go back to their respective clubs and people that come here are trying to earn a contract so it is hard at the moment, because they want to show what they can do and sometimes you don’t need that - you just need them to play in a team structure and learn because I will probably learn more on that side of it than I will trying to do something out of the ordinary,” said Culverhouse.
One look at Stockport - notwithstanding their huge financial advantage - highlighted was the physical differences between the two sets of players, a situation Culverhouse knows he has to address in his summer rebuilding.
“If you go through all the teams at the top now they are big, physical sides most of them up there and sometimes you look at our little boys and we could get blown away,” he said. “But it is something that we have looked at and we will look at everything and make sure that we get it right because it is really important that we stay in this league and get it right for next season.”
Lynn need to establish themselves as a National League side, rather like Saturday's visitors. Culverhouse knows that a bit of Maidenhead’s magic dust wouldn’t go amiss.
“They find a way to stay in this league every year and I said when we played them early on in the season that it is a blueprint that we should look at and ask how they are doing it because they are about the same size as us really and they have been in this league a long time,” he said. “They have got a very, very good manager who is clued in on how to keep his size and play, they play a certain style, we are going to have to combat that and try and impose our game on it.”
Culverhouse will have to do it without central defender Elkan Baggott, due to be on FA Youth Cup duty with parent club Ipswich Town on Friday night. Cameron King remains a doubt after suffering breathing difficulties against Dagenham & Redbridge. It is also expected to be Coleman’s final game in Lynn colours.
One player who will start is defender Kyle Callan-McFadden, who shrugged off a shoulder injury in midweek.
“He had two pain killers and he said ‘grand’. Just wheel him out! He is outstanding - he puts his body on the line every game and we are very grateful to have him,” said Culverhouse.