‘We have a few ideas what to do to cover the gaps’ - Culverhouse
Ian Burt Photography
Ian Culverhouse has laid down a challenge to one of his brightest young stars on the eve of an historic day for King’s Lynn Town.
Lynn make their first ever appearance in the National League this evening when Yeovil head to The Walks (kick-off 5.30pm) for a match that is being screened live on BT Sport.
Linnets boss Culverhouse has had selection issues during the build-up, all involving last season’s top three scorers – Adam Marriott, Michael Gash and Chris Henderson.
Marriott returns but will have to work his way to match fitness through playing games, having missed five weeks of pre-season, while Gash is sidelined by illness.
Henderson made a surprise exit last week because he was unable to handle the rigours and requirements of National League football - and that’s where Culverhouse’s challenge comes.
At 19, Sonny Carey is one of the youngest players in Culverhouse’s squad, and has often been labelled as one for the future. But he’s shifted the timeline significantly with some mature displays in midfield - and with Henderson now creating a vacancy, Culverhouse has challenged Carey to walk through the door marked ‘opportunity’.
“I think Sonny is going to be a very good player for us and has got a big future here and this probably puts him more closer into the team. We have a few ideas what to do to cover the gaps.
“But Sonny will definitely get a chance and I do like him, I rate him highly. He plays with no fear, he just goes out there and plays a game of football but he is another weapon that we have got.”
Sam Kelly is another option- a player who has the skills set, but continues to frustrate at times.
“It is a big year for him because he played a bit part last year, in and out, and you saw glimpses of his talent, because he is a really talented plater. He needs a run of games and he needs to find a consistent level of performance as well and if he gets that he will be a great asset for us.
“And again, it gives us competition when he is firing – but we need them all ready and peaking.”
One definite starter is Cameron King - the former Canaries FA Youth Cup winner is a Rolls-Royce in midfield, a genuine box-to-box player with quick feet and great vision and could be the key player this season.
“He’s a player,” says Culverhouse. “He will make this group good having him in the side. We need as many good players as we can get hitting form at the right time. It is going to be really, really hard for us it really is, but we are looking forward to it.
“It is going to challenge, but having that type of player (King) gives you a fighting chance.”
No one doubts the campaign will be a tough one for the Linnets - they’re rank outsiders to do anything much, but Culverhouse is unlikely to want it any other way: their success has been built on upsetting the odds and there will be more than a few locals who will have a cheeky tenner on yet another upset.
Gash’s absence is a blow, as is the need for Marriott to do on the job training, but Culverhouse is unlikely to take any risks – and has Dayle Southwell as quality back-up.
“I think we have got to be careful with Adam,” said Culverhouse. “His pedigree is there, everyone sees what he can do for us and just to have him back in the squad is massive for us, but we just have to be careful. We don’t want to flog him and the injury recurs. We will gently bring him back in. We have plenty of games – seven this month I think – and everyone on the squad will get their chance. We have to manage the squad and we have to use the squad well.”
Culverhouse will want his wide men to hit the ground running: there was some frustration a week ago in the final pre-season friendly at St Albans that Jamar Loza’s final ball lacked quality, and that he lost possession in good situations. The wide boys, on their day, will be the ruin of some full-backs, and Culverhouse has good midfield strength - King and the excellent Jordan Richards, the experience of Ryan Jarvis who, while probably not able to last a full 90, is certainly an influence when he is playing.
At the back, Rory McAuley and Chris Smith are the preferred partnership, with Aaron Jones at right back and summer signing Alex Brown on the left. With Tom Ward and Ryan Fryatt now departed, the only back-up defenders appear to be Ross Barrows and Tai Fleming. Goalkeeper Alex Street watched the whole of last week’s friendly from the stands – it’s been a while since that happened, and it looks likely that Canaries loan player Archie Mair will get the nod.
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