Linnets boss demands better defence

King's Lynn boss Tommy Taylor is warning his side to cut out the defensive lapses if they are serious about a Southern League Premier Division promotion push.

King's Lynn boss Tommy Taylor is warning his side to cut out the defensive lapses if they are serious about a Southern League Premier Division promotion push.

The depleted Linnets head west to tackle Yate today still smarting from the manner of their 4-2 New Year defeat to play-off rivals Banbury.

Taylor acknowledged Lynn's magnificent response at the Spencer Stadium, following the early injury blow of losing keeper John Higgs, failed to gloss over some rare errors from his previously watertight backline.

“It's certainly no time to panic,” he said.

“On the day we made silly mistakes, but that happens to every side and we're not going to feel sorry for ourselves. Higgsy and Dean West have been two of our best players this season and you can't really legislate for giving away the sort of goals we did.

“Look at the first goal Spurs scored at Man City in midweek; the defender should have just smashed it down the line instead of waiting for it to run out.

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“We still created enough chances to win at Banbury and it's not a case of doing anything drastically different. I'm more than positive we can string another run together. We went to places like Northwood and Cirencester before Christmas and did a very professional job - it will take a similar type of display tomorrow.”

Taylor has drafted in Arron Benstead to replace Higgs (dislocated shoulder) who is expected to miss the next five weeks of the campaign.

Matt O'Halloran (dead leg) and Cedric Anselin (groin) are in line for a recall. Adam Jones returns from suspension, but Grant Cooper (head) has been advised to rest for another week after receiving 12 stitches in a nasty gash against Hitchin last weekend.

Playmaker Sam McMahon (virus) is also struggling to make the trip. Youngsters Luke Fell and Mark Heath-Preston will both travel with defender Stephen Harvey on standby.

“We're a little like the walking wounded at present,” admitted Taylor. “The doctors have advised Coops to leave it another week and Sam has been feeling pretty weak in the last few days, so that could go either way.”

New striker Matt Nolan's assured display against the Puritans offered at least one bright spot amidst the Banbury gloom and Taylor is convinced he can forge an unstoppable partnership alongside Southern Premier top gun Danny Bloomfield.

“Matt is a big talent. It's quite hard to see why Cambridge decided to let him go,” said Taylor.

“From what I've seen so far the two of them can terrorise this division. Matt has a little bit of Teddy Sheringham about him with his touch and awareness, but I want him laying balls off and breaking his neck to get into the six-yard box as well.”

Yate's recent impressive home run includes a narrow win over table toppers Salisbury in November, but Town boss Richard Thompson has the utmost respect for today's visitors.

“I watched King's Lynn at Cirencester and thought they were every bit as good as Salisbury,” he said.

“For me, Salisbury are the best team in the division so we know it's going to be hard for us.

“At our place, though, we fear no one. We've taken points off most of the top sides at home and we'll certainly fancy our chances of making life difficult for them.”

Striker Paul Meatheringham is back from suspension but Thompson hands late fitness test to Andy Neal and Mike Wyatt.