Lynn back on FA Cup glory trail

CHRIS LAKEY Keith Webb takes King's Lynn on their travels again tomorrow attempting to emulate the FA Cup exploits of last season, but refusing to allow the world's oldest knockout competition to stand in the way of his number one target - promotion.


Keith Webb takes King's Lynn on their travels again tomorrow attempting to emulate the FA Cup exploits of last season, but refusing to allow the world's oldest knockout competition to stand in the way of his number one target - promotion.

Lynn travel to Midlands League Division One side Stroubridge in the second qualifying round - four wins away from a repeat of last season's run when they reached the second round, only to bow out at home to Oldham.

The wets Norfolk fans enjoy their cup runs, but while Webb would love to pit his wits against league opposition for the first time, he has only one thing on his kind.

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“A good run would be great for the supporters and great for the club, it really would, but it won't distract me from the biggest target, and that is winning promotion,” said Webb. “If you ask what I'd prefer, a big cup run or promotion, there's only one answer - and it's promotion every time.”

Webb arrived at The Walks soon after last year's tie against Oldham, and only when the draw this season's first qualifying round - when Lynn won 3-0 at Lincoln United - did he realise just what the competition means to supporters.

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“It's only now that I realise that the fans hold the cup in such high esteem,” he admitted. “I didn't realise that King's Lynn have the best record of any team ever in the FA Cup, in terms of games played against games won.

“It's a great tradition and one we hope to keep up, but it's another game that we want to win - and I will be putting out a team to do just that.”

Webb is again without skipper Mark Warren (groin) and Steve Melton (knee), but central defender Greg Crane is back in the squad, having been sidelined since hobbling out of the opening day draw at Bashley with an ankle problem.

Greg Lake is also in the squad, while Webb revealed that he had dropped any further interest for now in defender Adam Smith. The Peterborough United player Smith played the final game of a loan spell at The Walks last weekend, and has now joined Boston on a three-month deal.

“At the end of the day we have tried to help Smithy, he has helped us - he needs game and obviously feels Boston is the way, but he probably wasn't playing well enough for me to keep him on,” said Webb.

Stourbridge have had a poor start to their season, losing four of their last five games, but Webb insists that form counts for nothing this afternoon.

“It doesn't matter in a one-off game at all,” he said. “Everyone will be trying to beat us and we have to be on our mettle or we will get our backsides kicked.”

New signing Craig Fleming will be playing his first FA Cup game for more than a year and a half - his last outing was against West Ham in the third round when Norwich were beaten 2-1 at Carrow Road - and Grant is hoping his experienced players will see Lynn through.

“That's one of the reasons we brought Craig in,” he said. “Because he has that sort of experience and he can be a calming influence with people like Charlie Defty and they can only benefit from what he brings us.

“But there are a lot of the lads who have been in similar situations as well; there is a lot of good experience in the team and a lot of them were involved last year against Oldham so they know what it's all about and what it means - to the club and the fans.

“I know they will be giving it everything.”

A chance phone call has helped Webb's preparations, with Leighton Town boss Keith Scott - a former Norwich City striker - calling the Lynn boss for information on his FA Cup opponents today, Kirkley & Pakefield.

“He wanted to know what I knew about Kirkley, and I knew Leighton had beaten Stourbridge in the FA Vase so I asked him about them,” said Webb. “Apart from that information they are a bit of an unknown quantity.”

Stourbridge boss Gary Hackett is urging his players to forget their league form and cause an upset.

“Our minds are now fully focussed on this tie because it's a massive game for the club,” he said. “We know we have been inconsistent in the league, but now is not the time to dwell on that as we prepare for Saturday.

“King's Lynn are a very good side and we go into the game as big underdogs, but we have the belief we can pull of a cup shock.

“We know we are capable of raising our game as we proved against Leamington in the last round so it's now time for the whole club to rally together and put on a good show on Saturday.”

Stourbridge have lost the services of veteran striker John Williams, who has moved to Willenhall Town, with new signing Keith Russell likely to step in again. Recently-signed left back Lee Dimmock is Cup-tied.

Lynn squad: Howie, West, Chapman, Fleming, Crane, Lake, C Defty, Camm, Frew, Nolan, Bloomfield, Francis, Fisk, Turner, J Defty.

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