'We're ready.' King's Lynn Town boss relishes National League opener against Southend United
King’s Lynn Town boss Ian Culverhouse says he is excited by the potential of his new look squad as they prepare to kick off the new National League season.
The Linnets host Southend United, with a bumper crowd expected at The Walks, tomorrow.
And, after a summer which has seen major personnel changes, Culverhouse believes his new squad is all set for the challenges ahead.
He said yesterday: “They’re ready. This week has been really holding onto the reins, slowing them down and calming them.
“We don’t need it [a good performance] for one game. We need it for 46 or whatever it is but I’m really excited what this group could bring.
“We’ve got a lot of quality, a lot of youthfulness and that excites me.
“Come five o’clock on Saturday I could be down in the dumps but, at the present moment, I’m thinking ‘Come on then, let’s go.’”
The scale of the challenge facing the Linnets is perhaps underlined by the fact their opening opponents were a League One club as recently as the 2018-19 season.
Although Wrexham and Stockport County have attracted most of the summer headlines with their financial power, the Lynn boss thinks Southend will be one of the teams that will “run away” from the rest of the division.
But he also thinks now could be the ideal time to face them.
“A lot of people will have them as one of the favourites to go up, and I do as well because of the stature of the club”, he said.
“I just think having a full house here and having one of the big ones, we’ve got nothing to lose.
“There’s no pressure on us. We can just go out there and play and we’re going to attack it and we can enjoy it.
“It’s up to us and our supporters to make it as uncomfortable and hostile as possible.”
Lynn have almost a full squad to choose from with only defender Aaron Jones definitely out as he continues his rehabilitation from a ruptured Achilles sustained in February.
Culverhouse said he already knows the team that will take to the field against the Essex club, but revealed he is still looking to make at least one more signing following the loan deal which brought Joe Rowley to the Walks from Chesterfield last week.
However, any new recruit is unlikely to be in place in time for the weekend.
With full crowds now back in grounds following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, tomorrow’s gate could be the biggest since more than 4,000 packed in for the National League North showdown with York City in January 2020.
Culverhouse said they had missed having the crowd there last term, when most games were played behind closed doors due to pandemic restrictions.
He said: “It makes it a proper season. I know we carried on last year, but this makes it a bit more real.”
Midfielder Cameron King added: “It’s been a long time coming for this place.
“The fans deserve it. We want as many fans as we can get behind us to cheer us on.
“There’s nothing better than when the stadium’s full and rocking. The boys are really looking forward to that.”
The game is also Lynn’s first competitive outing as a full-time club and the manager believes the benefits of that will become more apparent as the season goes on.
Culverhouse said: “What it does is it gives you so much contact time.
“You haven’t got a big rush for two hours on a Tuesday night and a Thursday night.
“The detail we can actually give them is massive because we’ve got all day with them.
“It’s really important that we get as much information and detail into them as possible, because they’ll only be benefitting from that.”
“Going full-time has given me that little bit of buzz back. Having the time with the players is massive.”