Linnets are banking on home form
CHRIS WISE King's Lynn manager Keith Webb is banking on the Fortress Factor as his side attempt to secure their place in end of season play-offs, beginning with their visit of Hitchin today (3pm).
King's Lynn manager Keith Webb is banking on the Fortress Factor as his side attempt to secure their place in end of season play-offs, beginning with their visit of Hitchin today (3pm).
The Linnets have been title contenders in the British Gas Southern League Premier Division for much of the season, but have fallen away in recent weeks and are now a massive 17 points behind runaway leaders Bath City.
Automatic promotion is now clearly beyond them, and a place in the top five is by no means guaranteed either, with the side just outside the play-off positions - Chippenham Town - a mere one point behind Webb's side.
Lynn's poor away form continued on Thursday night when they could only manage a 1-1 draw at struggling Wealdstone. But the good news for fans of a nervous disposition is that five of their side's remaining seven fixtures are at The Walks, and while Webb is taking one match at a time he knows fully well that a decent haul from those games will secure a place in next month's shoot-out.
"We haven't done as well as we would have liked away from home recently, but our home form has been pretty good and it goes without saying that it has got to continue like that," said Webb. "I want the Walks to become a fortress where the opposition find it extremely difficult to get a result.
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"We've got five home games to play and if we can make it tough for our opponents, and play as well as we can do, then we won't have a problem. I think we have got enough ability in this squad to get the points we need but we have got to go out and do the business, starting against Hitchin. That's the only game we are focussing on at the moment."
With Chippenham also having home advantage, against local rivals Yate, the Linnets will be desperate for the three points ahead of their penultimate away game of the league campaign at Rugby Town on Easter Monday. That will complete a hectic spell of three games in five days - with the fixtures continuing to come thick and fast after that.
"It's a tough schedule but it's something we have got to cope with," said Webb. "The lads put in a lot of hard work on Thursday night and I need to give them some time to recover from that before I decide who will play against Hitchin.
"Sam McMahon won't be fit, I know that, but with the rest of the squad it's a case of wait and see. I have got to bear in mind that there is another game on Monday so I will have to give it a lot of thought."
The Linnets could have strengthened their position on Thursday against a side battling against the drop, and looked like doing just that when Matt Nolan gave them a first-half lead, stroking the ball home after his penalty had been saved by Mitch Swain.
But Wealdstone fought like terriers after the break and the visitors were indebted to an excellent save from debutant keeper Scott Howie, the ex-Canary, before the Stones grabbed a well deserved equaliser.
Asked if it was one point gained or two dropped, Webb commented: "I'd have to say one point gained, bearing in mind it was an away game and we have got plenty of home fixtures coming up. I thought we played well in the first half against a side whose main weapons were long throws and balls over the top and deserved to be in front at half-time.
"But in the second half they threw everything bar the kitchen sink at us and the boys worked very hard to come away with a point. Now we have got to build on that, starting against Hitchin on Saturday."