Linnets face huge Carlsberg Trophy test

King's Lynn boss Keith Webb knows the size of the task his side faces against Eastbourne Borough in the third round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy at The Walks today (3pm).

King's Lynn boss Keith Webb knows the size of the task his side faces against Eastbourne Borough in the third round of the FA Carlsberg Trophy at The Walks today (3pm).

Eastbourne will be formidable opposition for the Linnets, having made a flying start to their season. They currently sit top of the Blue Square South table and are unbeaten in the league after 15 games, winning 10 of them.

The unbeaten run stretched to 20 matches before they faced Blue Square Premier side Weymouth in the FA Cup first round and were unlucky to be on the end of a 4-0 defeat in front of nearly 3,000 home fans.

Eastbourne, managed by Glaswegian Garry Wilson, returned to winning ways in the league against Thurrock last weekend with a 1-0 win, and Lynn will have to be at their very best to progress any further in this season's competition.

"They are going very well in the league, so we're under no illusions how tough it'll be," said Webb.

"I saw them in the FA Cup, and the 4-0 scoreline certainly flattered Weymouth because it was never a drubbing by any stretch of the imagination.

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"But we have got players in the team who can open defences up, especially if we play as we did against Cirencester, so I think we can give them a good run for their money."

Known as Langney Sports until 2001, Eastbourne Borough have improved greatly in recent years and were on the verge of Conference football three seasons ago, after winning the Conference South playoffs. Ultimately, they lost out to their northern equivalent Altrincham 2-1 in the final.

In 2005/6, Borough reached the FA Cup first round for the first time in their history, taking then League Two side Oxford United to a replay before losing out 3-0, and they emulated the achievement this season when they faced Weymouth.

However, their record in the FA Trophy isn't as inspiring. Eastbourne have yet to pass the third round of the competition, while Lynn's record is better, having reached the last 32 twice, in 1979/80 and 2000/1.

Webb made wholesale changes to the Linnets side for the 3-1 victory over Hitchin Town in the errea Cup last Tuesday, effectively playing a reserve team in a competition which is not high on his season's priorities.

But the Lynn manager is expected to return to a more familiar line up for today's game, with only a slight change to the side which won 4-0 at Cirencester in the Linnets' last Southern League Premier Division match.

Forward Joe Francis, who was the only player to start against both Cirencester and Hitchin, is likely to retain his place today, while striker John Turner continued his rehabilitation from injury with a start on Tuesday night. He is expected to come into contention for an appearance against Eastbourne.

It will be a busy few days for Lynn, who also face a trip to Banbury in the league on Tuesday night. However, Webb won't let the prospect of an important league fixture so close today interfere with his line-up for Eastbourne and progressing in the FA Trophy.

"We're looking to give a good account of ourselves in the Trophy," he said. "So far as I'm concerned that is the most important game, and we'll look at Banbury after that one."