'I don't want to be predictable' - Lynn boss happy with first pre-season foray after Stamford rout
PUBLISHED: 08:35 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 14 July 2019
Early signs look good for Linnets as they prepare for National League North campaign
Football managers say they take little notice of the early pre-season friendlies, but if King's Lynn Town's opener proved anything it was that summer transfer business appears to have been astute.
There have been three additions to the squad which won promotion - Sam Kelly, Sonny Carey and Nathan Fox - and all three showed exactly why manager Ian Culverhouse wants them in his squad for the new National League campaign.
Culverhouse's recruitment hasn't finished yet - he's in the market for a defender - and Saturday's two Lynn teams, one for each half, included a raft of the ubiquitous summer player, A Triallist… including one Chris Smith, a free agent centre-half after leaving Ipswich Town.
Culverhouse has five more friendlies to work out who he wants before the big kick-off at Guisely on August 3 - time is short, but the build-up needs to be sweet. And at the Zeeco Stadium, it was.
Yes, the scoreline gives him nothing tangible, but it allowed the master craftsmen to tinker with pairings, formations and players.
Fox was given the first half to show what he can do as he tries to fill the large boots of Frazer Blake-Tracy, while Kelly and Carey appeared after the break with Lynn 2-0 up and cruising.
Carey is one for the future, but has an air of confidence, carries the ball well, is confident in possession and, judging by what happened in the 57th minute, a bit handy in front of goal - he pulled out a screamer from just outside the area to make it 3-0.
Kelly may well be the cleverest acquisition of the lot. He has some pedigree at Football League level, and he showed it: a turn of pace that raises the eyebrows, an eye for an opening and another who is comfortable in possession.
Again, friendlies don't reveal too much too much, but the signs are good.
"We handled the ball okay," said Culverhouse. "I am not that bothered about scores - scorelines don't count. It is just looking at combinations and the way we are passing the ball. The pitch was a bit sticky, but I was pleased with them. Their work rate was very good.
"You are just looking at fitness levels and things like that."
Culverhouse is likely to field two teams on Tuesday when Lynn go to Bury Town, but after that it begins to get a bit more serious as he looks to ensure Lynn are competitive at the higher level, and that will mean having plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
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"We are looking at things," he said. "I don't want to be predictable, so we need a plan B up there. We will have a look at things in the five games we have got.
"I was really pleased with them, they took on board the instructions and I thought they were excellent in possession. There were a couple of times we were a bit sloppy but we are trying, that's the main thing."
Nathan Stewart and Aaron Jones had given Lynn a half-time advantage during a period when striker Michael Gash was once again to the fore: he teed up the first, denied Stamford an equaliser with a terrific challenge minutes later, headed against the crossbar and then forced the home keeper to tip one over. The keeper was actually Charlie Congreve, who is a Linnets keeper - Stamford didn't have any available so there was a short-term loan arrangement sorted, which goes to prove just what these early-season friendlies can descend into.
Carey's rocket was followed by a Stamford goal soon after, but Adam Marriott headed a fourth from Ross Barrows' cross before Joe Taylor made it 5-1 after terrific work by an unselfish Kelly.
Linnets (first half): A Triallist, Jones, Fox, Fryatt, Triallist, Triallist, Clunan, Richards, Gash, Stewart, Henderson.
Second half: Triallist, Barrows, Triallist, McAuley, Triallist, Jarvis, Carey, Rudland, Kelly, Marriott, Triallist.
Lynn have announced digital social network platform WeShop as the club's new home shirt sponsor on a one-year deal.
Owner Stephen Cleeve said: "We are extremely pleased and delighted that WeShop have stepped in and agreed to sponsor our home kit for the 2019/20 season.
"We are looking forward greatly to working with them and forging a strong working relationship for the future."
WeShop replaces MYT Sports as the club's new home shirt sponsor.