Linnets expect new faces in this week as Culverhouse builds for new challenge
PUBLISHED: 18:17 25 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:17 25 May 2019
King's Lynn Town expect to make their first signings of the summer this week.
The Linnets have allowed four players to leave while another, Frazer Blake-Tracy - has made the step up to the pro game by signing for League One Peterborough United.
It leaves holes to fill, but owner Stephen Cleeve says work is well underway with potential signings.
The ballpark figure of five new players is on the cards for manager Ian Culverhouse as he attempts to make the step up to National League North football following the successful promotion campaign from the Southern Premier Central.
"There are some signings in the wings," said Cleeve. "I don't know how many we are looking to sign in total but it looks like there are a couple we have agreed deals with and we should get those next week, I would hope.
"One is a midfielder and one is a defender. Obviously with Frazer gone we have to fill his role and we have to speak to some other people as well to see what is available - do they want to come to us? Even loan signings - do they want to come - that is an area we are definitely looking at.
"Ian knows what he needs - he is meticulous in his planning; he works out the kind of teams we are playing, what we are up against and develops a strategy to beat them. He will have to get his squad of players in and mould them into shape and I am sure he will do that, no question."
Midfielders Craig Parker, Will Mellors-Blair, Eoin McQuaid and defender Joe Robinson have all left The Walks, although with 30 league starts between them last season it was perhaps clear their opportunities would be limited at a higher level.
"We know the areas where we have got to strengthen and the lads that have left we wish them well," added Cleeve. "But there were different reasons for them leaving - every player there was a different scenario for why they went - and some of them were not going to start very often and there was no point them traipsing around the country.
Cleeve famously signed former Norwich City stars Grant Holt and Simon Lappin back in October 2017, a deal which not only added quality to the side but, as the owner admitted put bums on seats.
Wes Hoolahan's footballing career is up in the air, having just left West Bromwich Albion at the age of 37. Whether he would consider working alongside Culverhouse - one his coach at Carrow Road - would only be guesswork. And while Cleeve, the owner, would consider it, Culverhouse, the manager, might think differently.
"I haven't heard from Wes," said Cleeve. "If he was interested we would obviously chat to him but we haven't. And to be honest, it wouldn't be my call honest, it would be Ian's.
"If you have a chance to get hold of a player who genuinely is a great player to watch, you would, if you could afford them, try and get them. But equally the main purpose of the football club is to stay in this league and that has got to be our key aim and we wouldn't sacrifice one to achieve another."
In the meantime, while Culverhouse looks for the round pegs for the round holes, Cleeve has to finance the running of the club. Promotion is costly in a number of ways, and the extra expense won't necessarily be covered by a cheque landing on the doorstep signed by the Peterborough owner.
"The money we receive will go into the budget but we are not talking enormous sums here," said Cleeve. "A lot of it is based on how Frazer performs in the future and if he does well we will be looked after as a club and that is important. There is something there of course but whatever comes in, stays in.
"There are a lot of things we need to do - we have to put sprinklers in, and that is a big cost, and we have also quite a lot of other work, including adding two turnstiles, putting a new catering hut in, toilets for the segregated areas, so there are a lot of running costs."
While all thoughts are now tuned into the new season, the delight of promotion via the super play-off final win at Warrington earlier this month is still fresh in the memory, with Cleeve and some of the players guests of the town mayor, Geoff Hipperson, on Friday night for official recognition from West Norfolk Borough Council.
"I am very proud of what the players did," said Cleeve. "We did it the hard way - we don't like doing things easy at King's Lynn, but it is great for the town and I am delighted the town finally has a club to be proud of."