King’s Lynn Town FC head into the festive period with their strongest squad for some time after Christmas came early for the fans this week.
The Linnets completed the signings of defender Tom Ward and midfielder Sam Warburton on 18-month deals ahead of Monday’s Boxing Day clash at 10th-place Kettering Town.
Ward arrives following his release from fellow Evo-Stik Southern Premier Division side St Neots, where he was club captain earlier in the season, while Warburton has completed the formalities of a permanent deal after his contract with National League North side Nuneaton was mutually terminated.
Sleaford-based Ward admitted that Linnets boss Gary Setchell’s persistence was a big reason behind his switch to 13th-spot Lynn.
Ward said: “Gary’s passion and energy levels are infectious and that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to come to the club.
“Not one person I’ve spoken to has had a bad word to say about him and Lynn was the only club I really wanted to sign for.
“The manager has been really keen to get me in and I’ve been speaking to him for a few weeks now.
“I know Lynn from my Boston days and this is a big club. There are big facilities, a huge fan base, I know a few players here and the club are ambitious.
“I know what the club are trying to do and what they want to achieve and I want to be a part of that.”
Making his debut for St Neots in November 2014, Ward went on to make 124 appearances, scoring nine goals.
Prior to signing for the Saints he had been with St Albans where he had 39 games.
Originally playing for his home club Sleaford, he progressed through Boston United Reserves and was given a senior deal ahead of the 2011-12 season.
He went on to make 70 appearances, scoring six goals before moving on to Gainsborough Trinity and then, initially on loan, to St Albans where he helped the club to promotion in 2013-14.
Warburton, meanwhile, saluted the great team spirit at the club after turning his loan deal at The Walks into a longer stay. The 20-year-old said: “I’ve been in a few dressing rooms so far in my career and this probably the closest as a group I’ve been involved in.
“It wasn’t a hard decision for me to come and sign.
“I’m really enjoying my football, especially playing in the wing-back role which I feel is my best position.
“Setch (Gary Setchell) has got me back playing towards my best but there is still a lot more to come from me.”
The son of former Northampton Wembley-winning skipper Ray, Sam was a first year professional with Northampton then he went on loan to Rugby Town in August 2015 under Gary Mills, a move that was made permanent in January 2016.
He moved on to Vanarama North side Nuneaton Town the following month having made a total of 32 appearances (one goal) for Rugby.
He made 11 appearances and seven starts for Nuneaton before arriving at The Walks.
On his latest two bits of business, manager Setchell said: “I’m pleased to finally get Tom. I’ve rated him for a long time and he will fit into the great group that we already have.
“He is a powerful centre back and I am really pleased to finally get the deal done before the festive break.”
On Warburton, Setchell said: “Warbs has come in and been nothing but professional and he does the job I ask him to do week-in week-out.
“His performances of late have been superb and he’s playing the wing back role for me brilliantly.”