Rebuilding process at King’s Lynn Town is starting to swing into action
- Credit: Matthew Usher
King's Lynn Town are already feeling the full effects of the FA's summer shake-up of the semi-professional pyramid.
The Linnets were surprised to discover they had been switched from the Northern Premier League to its Southern equivalent when the game's governing body released the make up of the major non-league divisions for 2015/16. And while the decision has seemingly benefited Lynn in a variety of ways, boss Gary Setchell admits it has hampered them in others.
The Town boss said: 'With the move to the Southern League I have missed out on a centre-half and a forward who are unable to travel south.
'I'm speaking to two centre-halves and it goes without saying that I'm in urgent need of a target man, number-nine type player, for the forward line. It has been a very busy and hectic time for myself and the coaches and we are all looking forward to life in the Southern League.'
Keeper Alex Street, defenders Ross Watson and Ryan Fryatt, midfielders David Bridges and Jacek Zielonka and frontman Sam Mulready have been retained from the squad which slumped to a disappointing 18th-placed finish last term.
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They have been joined by full-time arrivals Conor Marshall and Lee Stevenson, both midfielders, who ended the campaign by producing a string of positive displays while on loan. Released Cambridge United midfielder Liam Hurst, 20, has returned to The Walks for a second time after enjoying a temporary spell in Norfolk two campaigns ago.
'In securing Lee's signature for the new season I am sure that he will be able to score 25-plus goals for us from midfield,' said Setchell.
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'There were a few other clubs hoping to sign him but I feel it's a major coup for the club to get a player who, last season, was playing Conference football. Conor is also another one I have been very keen to get to the club after his performances for us last season.'
Fans' favourite Stevenson found the net three times in six appearances at the back end of last term following his arrival from Alfreton Town. The 30-year-old's permanent return has excited many and he can't wait to get down to business.
The playmaker, also speaking to Lynn's official website, said: 'I have known Gary for a long time now and when he made it very clear that he wanted me in his team for the new season my mind was made up.
'The feeling of being wanted in a set up is very important to me. Gary sold the club to me and it's a club that should be at a higher level than it is now. I had a great time before scoring goals and putting in some half-decent performances. The supporters are keen also and when you have that you want to be repaying them with goals and points. I have brought into that and I want to repay him (Setchell) for the faith he has shown in me.
'With the goals I usually aim for 12 and then take it from there. I have always had a good scoring record netting around 100 goals in three seasons at one point. I am always confident that I'm going to score. My aim for the season ahead is to enjoy my football again and when that's happening the goals and performances usually follow on.'
The futures of Jackson Ramm and Steve Spriggs are still up in the air with the pair mulling over the terms that they have been offered. Setchell is yet to speak to Michael Frew and Jordan Yong.
Lynn's manager has however wielded his axe in the direction of four players with Jake Jones, David Bell, Henry Eze and USA-bound Shaun Stocker being shown the same exit door that Dan Quigley departed through at the back end of the campaign.
Former Norwich City player, and Lynn captain last term, Bell is the most high-profile casualty of the expected rebuilding process. After turning down a move back into the Football League almost 12 months ago he failed to rediscover his initial excellent form following a shock arrival in January 2014.
Another player leaving The Walks is young defender Chris Ward. Holbeach United – who play two levels below the Linnets but one tier above the club's reserves where the 21-year-old spent most of last season playing – confirmed they had signed the left-sided talent last night.
United assistant Tom Roberts told the Spalding Voice: 'I've kept an eye on him over the last season or so. He didn't get offered a deal this year and he made it apparent that he wanted to come over.
'We're delighted. He's bought into all that we want to achieve and he'll be a big part of our plans.
'He's another local lad (lives in Sutton Bridge) for us. Everyone you talk to over King's Lynn way speaks highly of him.'