Sam Gaughran’s response to criticism delights King’s Lynn Town boss Gary Setchell

Sam Gaughran heads clear another cross during his rock-solid display for the Linnets against Harlow

Sam Gaughran heads clear another cross during his rock-solid display for the Linnets against Harlow in the FA Cup. Picture: MATTHEW USHER

Gary Setchell insists some tough love has helped Sam Gaughran reach new heights at King's Lynn Town.

The centre-back has split opinion among supporters since rejoining his hometown club from higher-level Lowestoft Town in July 2015. But it wasn't just those in the terraces who were unsure about some of his his performances.

Boss Setchell hasn't always been impressed either and has dropped the defender on a couple of occasions. Yet this time his latest axe-wielding exercise, and public dressing down, seems to have done the trick.

Gaughran has now started nine of his side's 11 matches this term and is likely to keep his place for today's visit of Chippenham Town after a mammoth display in Saturday's 1-0 FA Cup win against Harlow Town.

Lynn's boss said: 'I've given Sam Gaughran, publicly, some stick, some serious stick.

'It got to the point where he was probably going to leave the football club. I was like; 'You can still be a big player for me but I'm not having you at the weight you are, you need to lose weight because you can be one of the best centre halves in this league'.

'All credit to Sam. He lost 10 pounds, he's lost another three over the last few weeks, and I weigh him every home game – along with a couple of others. He looks better, he feels better and he's playing a lot better.

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'He's a leader, he's been outstanding and I can only come out here and say: 'Well done Sam, you've proved me wrong. I've given you a rocket but on the other side he's got to be thanking me for giving him the rocket'.

'I've managed it, he's responded. Some players wouldn't have. He could have gone to Cambridge City (who put in a seven-day approach). He didn't. He rolled his sleeves up, got in the team, and not just on Saturday and the weekend before, he's been brilliant.

'Even in the week, last week, at Biggleswade he didn't put a foot wrong even though we lost 2-0. He's going to be a big player for us so fair play to him.'

Setchell will need Gaughran at his best if the Linnets are to start moving up the Southern League Premier Division table. Saturday's shut-out was their first clean sheet of a campaign that, so far, has produced a mixed series of results.

That's not been the case for today's visitors, who are third in the table. They'e currently unbeaten on their travels and knocked higher-level Poole Town out of the FA Cup at the weekend.

Lynn could do without any absentees but, as always seems to be the case right now, they'll have five for this afternoon's clash. Gary Mills and Leon Mettam's three-game bans for getting sent off against Harlow begin while loanee Shaun McWilliams will be out for another six weeks with a double tear to his ankle ligaments – news described by Setchell as a 'massive body blow'.

Toby Hilliard (knee) and Ryan Fryatt (foot) have also added to the Linnets' injury woes.

But last night Setchell eased some of that pain by announcing the signing of winger Kurtis Revan from Corby Town.

'It's been no mystery that I've been in the market for players and to get Kurtis in as quickly as we have is really good,' commented Setchell.

'He's a tricky pacy winger and I think he will be a really good signing for us.'

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