Sam Gaughran – Haters won’t drive me out of King’s Lynn Town
- Credit: Ian Burt
Defender Sam Gaughran is turning a blind eye to his critics as he bids to become a hit at King's Lynn Town.
The centre-back has split opinion among supporters since rejoining the Linnets in July 2015. But the 26-year-old insists his haters won't drive him out of The Walks – where Town host Kings Langley tonight.
Gaughran, who recently turned down an approach from Cambridge City, said: 'I still think I've got to improve even more and hopefully prove people wrong still.
'There's some people out there that still say some negative things about me, this that and the other, but for me I don't really listen to them. I don't go on forums or nothing like that so it doesn't really affect me. I just know that if I get myself fit, like I am, I can be a good centre-half and hopefully keep clean sheets.'
Gaughran believes taking care of the pounds off the pitch has helped Lynn cash in on it. They endured a dreadful start to the Southern League Premier Division season but find themselves just two points outside of the play-off places ahead of tonight's home fixture.
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A 4-0 rout over high-flying Chippenham Town at The Walks on Saturday continued that upturn and Gaughran believes there's a simple explanation as to why the Linnets are in great shape – despite missing a host of key players through injury and suspension.
The 26-year-old, who has come in for some serious flak from even his manager Gary Setchell for his displays since returning to the club from Lowestoft Town, said: 'It's never nice when the manager is saying stuff publicly, but, on the flipside, it did have an effect on me.
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'It made me have a look at myself and think; 'Do you know what, what can I do to better myself?' We had a little chat about it all so the rocket has probably done me good and hopefully now the performances are coming.
'It's no secret that I was carrying a bit too much weight last season. I think it's quite a psychological thing knowing you're going to get weighed every other Saturday. But it's working. Not just me, look all over, we are as fit as we've ever been.
'We're a very fit side and I don't think many teams will be training at the intensities that we're training at right now.
'I'm definitely in my best form since I've been back. My performances last season, I said this at the end of it, were ok. I had some good ones but I wasn't consistent enough.
'Throughout my career I've always been quite consistent, a seven out of 10 most games, and I was very disappointed in myself. Apart from the St Neots and Banbury game this season I think I've hit a bit of form and hopefully I can carry on.'
Gaughran netted his first goal of the campaign during Saturday's win – which came without having the services of Gary Mills, Leon Mettam (both suspended), Toby Hilliard, Ryan Fryatt and Shaun McWilliams (all injured). While Hilliard may return this evening, there will still be a quintet of absentees with Lee Stevenson, stretchered off at the weekend, almost certain to miss out.
Setchell said: 'We are patched up. Saturday wasn't just a good result, not many teams could carry the sort of players, five possible starters, we're missing.
'We're creaking but there'll be no excuses. It's a game we're desperate to win because every time we have a chance to get in and around it (play-offs) we sort of fluff it a little bit. I just hope I'm not standing here tonight talking about another missed opportunity.
'A bit of local pride is key in these times because we're having to throw in reserve lads and local lads. They're producing the goods for us, mainly through hard graft.'