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Linnets hopeful players will recover in time for Southern League Central Premier play-off final clash at the Walks

Ian Culverhouse is hoping for a clean bill of health ahead of King's Lynn Town's crunch clash against Alvechurch in Monday's Southern League Central Premier play-off final.

The Linnets booked their place in the showpiece with a 3-1 success over Stratford Town in the first of three potential games to clinch promotion to Step Two.

But after a long, hard season and the prospect of playing two games in three days following the fixture fiasco of earlier this week, Lynn are sweating on the fitness of a couple of key players.

Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse (6802235)
Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse (6802235)

Culverhouse said:"It's all about our recovery between now and Monday as we've got a lot of lumps and bumps in there at the moment.

"We will turn up on Monday and try again. A couple of the group are struggling, but they are experienced players who know their bodies better than anyone.

"We've got to be a lot better on the ball on Monday and the players know that. We know it's going to be another difficult game.

"All four teams are in the play-offs on merit and Alvechurch have been up there all season.

"They are a real hard-working side and we will have to match them, but we do have to be better on the ball.

"Everytime we go out, I expect us to dominate the ball and move it as quickly as we can.

"It will be all down to who plays well on the day and who recovers the best from Saturday."

Lynn's boss wasn't happy with his side's first half display against Town before seeing them overturn a slender half-time deficit with a much-improved performance in the second period.

"In the first half we wasn't at it and I thought we looked a bit pedestrian in the first 45 minutes, but the response of the players in the second half was magnificent, it really was," admitted Culverhouse.

"At half-time, we asked the group to leave everything out there in the second half and they did just that.

"The players knew that they wasn't good enough first half, but they galvanised themselves in what was a very hard game for us. Stratford really came and had a go, so fair play to them."

Mike Taylor put the visitors in front on Saturday before Lynn battled back to book their spot in a second successive play-off final.

Substitute Ryan Hawkins levelled matters with a sumptuous strike from 25 yards before Michael Clunan and Rory McAuley added further goals to seal an incredible win.

Reflecting on Saturday's defeat, opposing Stratford boss Thomas Baillie said: "We'll be hurting for a few days now, but I think we've given King's Lynn a really good game today.

"I think it was a lot more open than people expected and I honestly felt if we'd gone 2-0 up, we would have gone on and won the game.

"We've come on leaps and bounds this season and I think we've given King's Lynn a scare.

"I do believe they are the best footballing team in the league. They've got a good manager, a chairman who has backed the team to the hilt and some really excellent players who could easily be playing at a much higher level."

Lynn will be hoping that Baillie's words ring true on Monday as they look to put last season's heartache against Slough behind them and move another step nearer to promotion.

The winners of the tie will travel to Warrington in the 'Super' play-off on Saturday after the Yellows came from behind to win their Evo-Stik Premier play-off final 2-1 at South Shields.


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