McMahon out for Linnets trip

King's Lynn's key midfielder Sam McMahon is out for the season with knee ligament damage ahead of tonight's -Southern League, Premier Division trip to Wealdstone.

King's Lynn's key midfielder Sam McMahon is out for the season with knee ligament damage ahead of tonight's -Southern League, Premier Division trip to Wealdstone. (7.45pm)

The influential playmaker has missed Lynn's recent promotion stutter after picking up the injury in last month's goal less draw at Mangotsfield.

McMahon had only just returned to the squad after struggling with a persistent hamstring problem. Linnets' boss Keith Webb has major doubts over Mark Warren (groin) and Jack Defty (thigh) but Steve Melton (hamstring) is back to face the Stones.

"It's a big blow to lose Sam because he gives us something a bit different," admitted Webb. "Melts will provide some experience which we need at the moment. Jack will hopefully be fit for the weekend. We'll give Wazza right until kick-off before making a final decision."

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Former Scotland U21 keeper Scott Howie is vying with Shaun Marshall for the number-one spot following his deadline-day arrival. Webb is also desperate to pep up his shot-shy attack after a fourth consecutive blank on the road at Tiverton.

"There'll be one or two changes," he said. "I've got to look at Matty Nolan and Danny Bloomfield and I haven't made my mind up yet over the keeper situation. We've also got two games over Easter which is a little spell that would test any group of players.

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"If it was Premiership footballers there'd be outrage. We're asking them not just to perform, but win matches while we flog them like workhorses. We have to put things right, away from home, and we've good players who are more than capable. The situation is simple now - we aim to get in the play-offs and finish as high as we can. Wealdstone are another team with everything to play for, which makes it tough."

Webb is working overtime to restore battered confidence as Lynn's play-off rivals turn up the heat.

"We've reached the hardest part of the season where people get a little twitchy and nervy," he said. "My job is to keep everyone together and stay calm. This is a very stressful time, but a lot of them went through it last year and I'm sure they can handle it.

"There's no heads on the floor - nothing like that. It's no good me ranting or raving. We don't have the sort of player at the club who needs a kick up the backside every week. They need a shoulder around the arm and encouragement. The players want it badly, the supporters want it just as badly but we have no divine right to get promoted - it has to be earned."

The Linnets' chief is urging his men to stay cool over the tense run in after a double sending-off at Tiverton. Captain Warren and Matt O'Halloran will both sit out a trio of promotion battles after being dismissed for violent conduct.

"I've spoken to them all about that," said Webb. "The players were frustrated and they want to win, but teams will try to get in our faces and upset us - we have to cope with it and in those situations I expect experienced lads to help the younger ones along."

King's Lynn (from): Marshall, Howie, West, Blois, Warren, Crane, Fisk, Camm, Nolan, Frew, Bloomfield, O'Halloran, Gould, Melton, Defty, Hammond.

The King's Lynn Supporters' Club is taking travel bookings for the Monday trip to Rugby (3pm). A coach is scheduled to leave The Walks at noon. Cost £10. Contact Gordon Chilvers on 07836 630564 or 01553 761047.

Lynn's Southern League, Premier Division home game against play off rivals Team Bath has been switched to Wednesday, April 25 (7.45pm). The students are now in county cup final action 24 hours earlier.

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