Norwich City youngster relishing competition at The Walks
Ian Burt Photography
Archie Mair believes his season-long loan at King’s Lynn Town can help him emulate his peers at Norwich City and become a part of Daniel Farke’s first team plans.
The Scotland under-21 keeper made his first appearance in Lynn colours for the second half of Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Kettering Town, taking over the gloves from club stalwart Alex Street.
Street has had little direct competition for a few seasons now, so there should, in theory, be a mutual benefit. At 19 years of age, Mair’s targets are somewhat different as he assesses the opportunities given to the likes of Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons, Ben Godfrey and Todd Cantwell at Carrow Road.
“I spent a season down here with the 23s last season and was looking to get out on loan and get playing and everyone can see that the young players get a chance with the (Norwich) first team,” said Mair, who left Aberdeen for City in June last year. “You look at people like Jamal (Lewis) who has just moved to Newcastle, and the rest are kicking on, and had a season in the Premier League so it is a good club like that.
“I think you have to look at those lads and say ’why can that not be me?’ You just need to keep working every day and if the chance comes your way you need to make sure you are ready.”
An intrinsic part of that ambition will be the competition at Lynn, where, because of commitments with City’s Germany tour and international duty, he had just one training session before Saturday’s game, which was settled seconds from time after a looping header by central defender Ryan Fryatt, who was released by Lynn in May.
“Peds (Street) is good,” said Mair. “He did well in the game today and he was good in training. All I can do is show what I can do and try and get myself in the team.
“I think it is important but having that competition is good for me because it can only push me to train harder and perform in games. If the performances aren’t there I won’t be playing, and I am dying to play.”
In a game of few real chances, Street kept a clean sheet in the first half, with Mair getting an early ‘settler’ just four minutes into his debut when he confidently claimed the ball from a corner in a packed area.
“It was a good settler,” he said. “Obviously I had seen it and just had to deal with it. I didn’t have much time to think about it but it was good to get my hands on the ball so early after coming on. It was good, I enjoyed being out there with the boys. It’s been a while since I signed and I hadn’t been up yet, because I have been away in Germany and back up in Scotland.
“I’d never been here - I met up with the boys on Thursday at training and came here today, but I have never been to the stadium or anything like that. I am enjoying it so far – all the lads have been great with me, the gaffer and that so yes, enjoying it.”
Lynn boss Ian Culverhouse was happy to see Mair and fellow Canaries loanee Simon Power, on duty. Power and Jamar Loza are the ’wide boys’ in his squad, two strong players with explosive bursts of pace. The plan to team them with strikers Michael Gash and Adam Marriott hasn’t worked yet – Gash remains sidelined with illness while Marriott is close to a return from an ankle injury.
“It is only Simon’s second 45 and again you saw glimpses of what they can do and having those two in those areas we have got to get the ball into them as often as possible because they will cause the opposition problems,” he said. “Archie has had his first taste of it – he will give great competition for Al in there and that is what we need; we need competition all over the pitch and they will bring the best out of each other.”
The absence of Gash and Marriott tests Culverhouse’s assertion that he has strength in depth and quality to cover every area of the pitch, and while Lynn drew a blank, in Dayle Southwell and, later, Loza, he does have options down the middle.
“The players out there, I have good faith in them,” he said. “We have to find different combinations and different ways of playing without those players and we will do. We have got really good weapons, we saw glimpses of that today when we got around the back of them. Now we have just got to flood the box a bit more because in midfield today we had three ball players and no one running on beyond the centre forward. But we have got players to do that so we have lots to work on – still two weeks to go and we will be ready.”
King’s Lynn Town: Street (Mair 45), Jones, Brown (Barrows 71), Jarvis (Kelly 65), McAuley (Fleming 71), Smith, Clunan (Carey 65), Richards, Power (Hawkins 59), Loza, Southwell (Henderson 65).
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