How to settle in, the Linnets way
- Credit: Ian Burt
Elkan Baggott may be a rookie in football terms - but the coach ride back to East Anglia following his King’s Lynn Town debut will have been an education.
“He was at the back of the bus with me, Richo (Jordan Richards) and Mike (Clunan) and we were just chatting the whole way back,” said experienced striker Michael Gash.
The conversation was all about football, but for an 18-year-old from Indonesia, who is on loan from League One Ipswich Town, it will have helped him settle into the Lynn way.
Bedding in new players is a sign of the times at The Walks - they come in and go out, perhaps only temporarily, with increasing regularity: Richards himself is now on furlough as the cost-cutting endeavours which enable Lynn to complete the season cut deep again.
The team sheet for today’s game against Altrincham at The Walks will bear no resemblance to the one manager Ian Culverhouse would have selected, in normal circumstances. Again, a sign of the times, when old heads like Gash and Clunan play an extra role.
“It is different, but at every club you get new players in every now and then,” said Gash. “Obviously it is different - we are getting a new player every week, or two new players, but some people are going out on furlough, playing one week and out on furlough the next week and it is hard. But the group is so tight and I think you just keep it like that so that when new players come in then you make them welcome. Hopefully they settle in really well.”
Learning about a player’s personality and characteristics is one thing, knowing how they play is very much on the job training. Last weekend, it was Ethan Coleman’s turn to be the new boy.
“It can be difficult, a little bit, because you don’t know what type of player they are so when they are playing, like today, you don’t know what type of player he is but you can see after five or 10 minutes he can get on the ball, he passes it, he is comfortable and so he is always going to fit in,” said Gash after the 2-1 win over Eastleigh.
“I don’t think the gaffer would bring someone in who can’t do that so like I say, in the changing room everyone is together no matter whether you have been here a week or whether you have been here three or four years. Everyone is made to feel welcome and everyone gets on really well, there are no cliques or anything in that changing room. The lads that are furloughed, they will come in and watch the game and it is good to see them so, yes, it is just something that we have got to deal with but it is something that in football that is part and parcel of the game. I think if you ask any of the new lads they would probably say that they feel really welcome.”
Baggott was unable to play last weekend because of illness, but appears to have settled in, courtesy of that coach trip, on the way back from Altrincham.
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“It is just making everyone feel as welcome as possible and settle in because that is what you should do as players and as individuals and humans you make everyone feel welcome so that it is easier for them to go out and produce what they are good at on the pitch and I think that it definitely showed today,” said Gash.
It’s a quick turnaround, with Altrincham visiting Norfolk on Monday, but Lynn will be in a better frame of mind, having ended an eight-game winless run with the win over Eastleigh, despite conceding in the first minute.
What was impressive was the stubbornness that saw Lynn score twice after the break to claim the points.
“It was a killer blow really, first minute, you say from set pieces, dead balls, don’t concede and unfortunately we have,” said Gash. “Bit of a mix-up but as you can see straight away with the lads they didn’t let their heads go down, we continued to play football and I think we dominated the first half really. Had a few chances in the final third, that final pass or cross or anything a little bit better we may have scored but we came out in the second half and the first 20 minutes again we were exactly the same and got our just rewards really.
“It is something that we haven’t got recently but thankfully, you know in games before maybe we wouldn’t have got that penalty but the ref spotted it and Jacko (Simeon Jackson) has despatched it so it was all round a great team performance and the last 15 minutes, 20 minutes we knew they were going to try and put the pressure on so we just had to deal with it and I think we did.
“Sometimes, you can play really well and the end result is not what you want but that is football. The main objective is to get three points and unfortunately we haven’t been doing that. Performances have been very good but we just haven’t been getting that win and at this level that is key and that is the most important thing. Like I have always said we will learn from that but today we have played well and we have got the result but then the last 20 minutes the boys have done the nitty gritty and the ugly stuff and we have kept them out and made sure that we have won the game.”
Lynn will be hoping Baggott is available to face Altrincham, while there is likely to be a doubt over Clunan, who had to be replaced during the Eastleigh game.