Tough love approach working again for Gary Setchell at King’s Lynn Town
Gary Setchell is ruling with an iron fist once more to get the best out of King's Lynn Town.
The long-serving Linnets boss, an ever present in the dugout since the club reformed in 2010, has become well known for his ruthless approach to football management. Yet with the youngest squad at his disposal since returning to The Walks, it's been a different story this season.
The 40-year-old has often thrown a protective arm around his players in order to get the best out of them as they look to mount a charge up the Southern League Premier Division. A December 5 defeat at Dorchester Town, however, was one stutter too many for Setchell who now feels he is getting the rewards of dishing out some tough love.
The Lynn boss, whose side can leapfrog old rivals Kettering Town, ninth, in the table by winning their clash in Norfolk this afternoon, said: 'The past few results and performances show the lads are getting tougher and learning.
'I've actually been a lot harder on them, especially over the last month or so. They're a young side and maybe at times I've been a bit easier on them than I might have been in the past. Yet the kid gloves came off after the Dorchester game and I got back to treating them like I have the other sides we've had here.
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'There's been no excuses. Everyone is training hard and I have certainly been harder on one or two of the younger ones. Rather than going into their shell, they've come out of it more, which is great, and I've gone back to being horrible, which is lovely.'
While that closing statement may have been said with a grin, Setchell is desperate to avoid a festive repeat of last year's winter slump which left him with nothing to smile about.
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A 4-3 Boxing Day loss at Barwell triggered an alarming collapse which saw the mid-table Linnets plummet to within touching distance of a full-blown relegation dogfight. Lynn were 12th going into that December 26 fixture and occupy the same position ahead of today's festive showdown against another of one-time professional player Setchell's former clubs.
'The main thing for me is not what happened 15 years ago, it's that King's Lynn get three points,' said Setchell, who has worries over the fitness of defender Sam Gaughran.
'We lost 2-1 there in August. What we have done well this season, when we've lost to teams, is we've gone out and beaten them the next time we've played them.
'It's crucial for us as we don't want to do what we did last year.
'We were in a better position than we are now and we totally capitulated after Christmas.
'It's very important we keep building on our results and performances, working hard, and if you do that then who knows what could happen?'