Just the ticket

THE Linnets swooped for former Man United star Alex Notman and midfielder Mark Camm this week – while the buzz around the town reached fever pitch by the announcement of ticket arrangements for the plum home FA Trophy clash with Exeter.

Camm put pen-to-paper, as expected, at training on Wednesday night by signing an 18-month contract.

But 12 hours later the Linnets were celebrating another major coup by agreeing terms with former Manchester United and Norwich midfielder Notman, who was forced out of the professional game with an ankle injury only in November.

The former Scottish under 21 international arrives at The Walks on a month-to-month basis as the Linnets turned up the promotion heat on the rest of their Eastern Division rivals.

Linnets director of football Kevin Boon said: "It has been a massive week at the club, what with the FA Trophy draw and these two signings. Negotiations are also going very well with Chelmsford City in regard to keeping Dale Watkins here.

"It shows the rest of the league that we are at the top and that we intend to stay there. Our ambition still remains Conference football and these signings back that statement up.

"The board have been fantastic this week by backing everything that I proposed."

Boon added: "The signing of Alex gives both the player and us the chance to see what he can do. If his ankle holds out then we've got to sit down and seriously look at offering him a long-term deal.

"Supporters should remember that Adam Jones was forced out of the professional game with a serious injury, but he is now playing some of the best football of his career with us.

"I thank Alex's agent Neil Featherby of Sport Link for being very helpful in making this happen."

Notman jumped at the chance of returning to the pitch after a stop-start season due to his injury, which he sustained in last season's derby clash with Ipswich when trying to block a free-kick.

The 24-year-old said: "I spoke to Neil and he said that Lynn were interested. It's been ten weeks since I finished with Norwich and I've missed my football on a Saturday.

"I'm really looking forward to it. The club have got a lot of ambition and this is a way back into it.

"Having been at both Manchester United and Norwich I'm hoping at this level I'll be able to offer Lynn quite a lot."

Notman played down concerns regarding his ankle, saying: "I've been keeping myself fit by going to the gym twice a week and I'll just see how my ankle goes between now and the end of the season.

"I saw a couple of specialists and they told me my ankle wouldn't stand up to the professional game.

"I took that on board, but playing once and training once or twice a week at this level shouldn't be a problem."

Norwich-based Notman made 61 appearances for the Canaries (one goal) after making the switch from Old Trafford for 250,000 in November 2000.

His first-team starts were limited to one game at the Theatre of Dreams, where he was loaned out to both Aberdeen and Sheffield United.

The Walks outfit beat off competition from Scarborough and Halifax to turn the popular Camm's successful three-month loan spell into a permanent deal at The Walks.

Speaking to the Lynn News on Wednesday, Camm (23) said: "My mind was made up that I was going to sign for Lynn a few weeks ago, but I had to keep it quiet until everything had been sorted out with Lincoln.

"The supporters have been great and I've had a lot of encouragement from the players. This is a club with great potential and that's one of the reasons I signed.

"It was a hard decision to drop out of the game, but one I had to make as the last two years at Lincoln I've been mainly sitting in the stand and I just wanted to play football."

Camm added: "I would have liked to have stayed in the League, but that opportunity didn't come along and I felt playing at Lynn was the best way of helping me back into the Football League."

Boon said: "I watched Mark at least eight times before he came here and I'm delighted he has agreed to sign an 18-month contract.

"He has got an engine and a half, but can play football with it. If he still doing the same things he is now in 18 months time then we will give him another contract.

"I hope his signing will lead to other players on contract here committing themselves to the club for next season."

Joint caretaker boss Darren Bloodworth said: "All of the hard work has been done by Kevin and he deserves a great deal of credit for bringing these types of players to the club. People knock him but he has forged a lot of contacts.

"He takes a hell of a lot off pressure of my shoulders by doing this aspect of the job and it allows me to concentrate on coaching the players on the pitch."

Both players will be in the squad for tomorrow's home Dr Martens Eastern Division encounter with Folkestone, which is sure to attract another bumper crowd following this week's transfer activity.

Defender Mark Burrows will miss the game with a hamstring injury, while Gary Setchell, Glen Fuff, Adam Jones and Carl Holmes are all carrying slight knocks.

Bloodworth said: "There was a lot of talk about the Exeter game in training, and quite rightly so, but it's vital we keep our feet firmly on the ground for these next two league games.

"The club have got a very, very big three weeks coming up, but these next two fixtures are paramount to our title hopes.

"We have to remain focused for the job in hand."