Linnets look to add another chapter to unlikely success story
PUBLISHED: 11:51 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 31 January 2020
King's Lynn Town will look to add another chapter to one of the league's most unbelievable stories on Saturday afternoon.
The Linnets welcome Kidderminster Harriers to The Walks where they will defend an unbeaten record going back exactly 17 months and 34 league games.
It's an extraordinary stat. But so is the fact that Lynn top the table with just two defeats in 26 league games this season and hold a four-point lead over their nearest rivals, York City - and with a couple of games in hand.
Hard work has taken them there, because the success has been achieved despite a rolling injury bulletin that has stretched resources to their limits.
Lynn will be without Ross Barrows, whose contract extension news has been tempered a little by a shoulder injury.
Barrows has been one of a number of revelations this season so it is little wonder manager Ian Culverhouse wanted a little security around his player, with a deal that ties him to the club until the summer of 2022.
"I'm absolutely over the moon to sign a contract extension," said Barrows.
"When I signed a deal last summer it took a little while to sort out, but I'm enjoying my football more than ever.
"Ian (Culverhouse) gets the best out of me as a player.
"The way he wants to play is the way I was brought up as an Academy player.
"He gives you that freedom to go and express yourself on the pitch and I'm playing with a great set of lads.
"There are so many leaders in that dressing room and the experienced players are helping me improve too."
Joining Barrows on the outside looking in will be club captain Michael Clunan, who has a broken leg, and centre-half Ryan Fryatt, who has just undergone expensive surgery for a knee injury - given he paid for it himself, there will be a bucket collection at the game today to help.
The superlatives roll in every week - strikers Adam Marriott and Michael Gash frighten the lives out of opposition defenders, the midfielders, Chris Henderson, Jordan Richards and Ryan Jarvis in particular, are a solid, hard-working unit who dictate play; at the back Rory McAuley has been a tower of strength among a seemingly ever-changing defensive line.
But one player who has received perhaps less attention than he deserves is goalkeeper Alex Street. Culverhouse sings his praises, as does his assistant Paul Bastock - and as a former keeper, he should know.
But Alex Street has just done what Alex Street does - keep the ball out of his net. In the last eight league games he has kept seven clean sheets. Only twice this season has he conceded more than two goals - and they were in the only games Lynn have lost.
At Boston, the travelling fans who stood behind his goal witnessed close-up the battering he takes - and stands up against.
Today he will face a Kidderminster side who were expected to feature at the top end of the table but, instead, are languishing third from bottom. They don't score many goals away from home, but they don't concede many either - 18 against on their travels is the same as the Linnets.
While Culverhouse has players sidelined, on the upside, he has fresh legs - and quick ones too - in the shape of Simon Power, on loan from Norwich City. The youngster made an immediate impact on his debut against York a fortnight ago. Striker Dayle Southwell was signed shortly afterwards and made his debut in the 3-0 win at Blyth Spartans last weekend, coming on as a replacement for Power - the former Halifax man will be hoping for a home debut.
Both of those signings were a statement of intent from the Linnets and perhaps proof that, while leading the pack was for some time something of a novelty that might well wear out, the realisation has set in alongside the ambition that this could prove to be something big for King's Lynn Town.