Southern comfort as King’s Lynn Town begin at Merthyr

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Manager Gary Setchell is full of optimism on the eve of King’s Lynn Town’s belated return to the Southern League Premier Division after a seven-year absence.

The Linnets travel to much-fancied Merthyr Town tomorrow in a tough start to the new campaign.

A positive Setchell said: “I can’t wait for the new season to start and there’s a new air of optimism going around.

“We totally lost our way after Christmas last season and the wheels totally came off.

“But what happened then is done now. There have been a lot of changes in the summer and we’ve now got to look forward.

“I’ve freshened things up and we’ve got a young and hungry squad on the pitch.

“We know it’s going to be tough at Merthyr, but on our day we know that we can be a match for anyone in this league.

“They are 8-1 to win the title and we are 33-1 so I suppose that’s a reflection of our chances, but by the end of the season I hope that gap is a lot shorter.”

The playing staff and management will travel down to Wales today and stay overnight - something the club are likely to replicate for the majority of the longer trips this season.

Setchell said: “There’s very little difference staying overnight cost wise so it’s something we will be looking to do for the away games more than 200 miles.

“It saves the players sitting on a bus for seven or eight hours and will help the togetherness in the squad.

“The players can have a meal on the Friday and a good rest before the game on a Saturday.”

A lot has happened since the clubs last locked horns in the division back in 2008.

Both clubs were liquidated and reformed and tomorrow fan-owned Merthyr Town host the Linnets with both clubs returning to Southern League Premier Division football.

“Both clubs have been reformed and have always found themselves playing at a similar level,” said Setchell.

“They only lost two of their 23 games at home last season and they play on a 3G pitch, which I believe gives them a distinct advantage.

“If we can come back from Wales with a positive result it will set us up nicely for our two home games next week.”

Goals by Matt Nolan and Jack Defty saw King’s Lynn FC record a 2-0 victory over The Martyrs the last time the two clubs met.

More than 500 Lynn fans made their way to Penydarren Park that day to watch the club secure their first-ever Southern League Premier Division title.

On Tuesday night, King’s Lynn Town suffered a first pre-season defeat, 3-1 at Grantham in their final friendly of the summer.

Goals came thick and fast in a nine minute spell with recent signing Jake Speight scoring his second goal is as many games.

Lynn Reserves entertain Team Bury at The Walks (3pm).

See page 111 for a comprehensive preview of the local sides ahead of the new football season.