Linnets boss excited by new National League North season

It was inevitable that, at some point, the conversation with Mark Hughes would turn back to one of the most disappointing performances of last season – the club’s play-off defeat to Kidderminster Harriers.

But the King’s Lynn Town boss is determined to use that afternoon as fuel for the coming National League North season which starts with the visit of Hereford on Saturday.

The Linnets are at the dawn of a new era following a big summer rebuild and after narrowly missing out on promotion in the play-off final last term, Hughes is ready to put that heartache firmly behind him.

King's Lynn Town boss Mark Hughes. Picture: Tim Smith
King’s Lynn Town boss Mark Hughes. Picture: Tim Smith

“Yeah, we, we actually chatted about this week, you’ve got to use that fuel for fire, and the disappointment of the Kidderminster game but the boys haven’t shown any of that,” he said.

“They’ve come in fresh and they’re buzzing for the season to start because the pre-season games at times can get a bit slow and you know there’s no atmosphere really here in the second half.

“Look, they’re desperate for that competitiveness. Seven games is a lot of games in the short space of pre-season and they’re looking forward to it and we’re all ready.”

Gone are many of the old favourites such as Gold Omotayo, Michael Clunan, Tyler Denton, Aaron Jones and Olly Scott.

But Lynn have been active in their summer business with Gibraltan international Kian Ronan, Emmanuel Oke, Tom Clifford, Jack Smith, Sion Spence, Quaine Bartley, Ismael Fatadjo and Marfley Delgado all coming through the door.

Automatic promotion is a huge ask with Lynn competing against big-spending Scunthorpe United and Chester City – but Hughes is delighted with the talent at his disposal going into the new campaign.

“I look at us and I think we’re exciting,” he said.

“I’m going to demand more from the players that are here and have talked about those goals from midfield while our ten players Joshua Barrett and Ben Stephens, they’re really good players.

“They should be playing a level or two levels above but we’re all here for a reason. They’re hungry to do well for the club and we’re not going to look too far ahead of us.

“They’re all going to try and get in the team first and foremost, and then it’s up to them if they work hard, they’ll keep their shirt.

“But that competitiveness, I think is probably stronger than the start of last year.

“I think it’s going to be harder for me to pick the team than it probably was for Tommy (Widdrington) that started last year, which is good problem to have.”

Lynn’s boss won’t be getting ahead of himself at any point but after Saturday’s visit of the Bulls and games against Chester, Gloucester City and Alfreton on the horizon, he’ll have more of an idea exactly of where his squad is come the end of August.

Hughes admitted: “It’s a tough start, isn’t it?

“I mean, those three sides that we play, Hereford, Chester and Alfreton will be looking to get in the play-offs, so it’s a difficult start but it’ll be a good gauge for where we are.

“Obviously Scunthorpe are spending a lot of money with the signings of good players, but you know the pressure is on them a little bit, isn’t it? Because last year that.

“They are the AFC Fylde of our league probably this year, and unfortunately they pipped us by two points, but we’ll see how it goes.”