FOOTBALL: High-flying Huntingdon are ‘on Spalding’s level’

WARY: Pat Rayment (left) and his number two Marcus Ebdon are preparing for a tough Huntingdon test.
WARY: Pat Rayment (left) and his number two Marcus Ebdon are preparing for a tough Huntingdon test.

Spalding United manager Pat Rayment has paid Huntingdon Town the ultimate compliment by declaring: “They are on our level.”

The Tulips welcome fifth-placed Town to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Saturday (3pm) for what is the pick of the UCL Premier Division fixtures.

Although the league leaders Spalding are 17 points clear of their fifth-placed visitors, Huntingdon have three games in hand. Both teams have only lost once in the league this season and Rayment is full of admiration for the job being done at Jubilee Park.

He said: “They’ve only lost one league game all season –that record speaks for itself, just like ours.

“For that reason, you have to say that they are currently on our level. They have been a model of consistency really.

“Even when (former boss) Ricky Marheineke left, they promoted Seb Hayes from within and nothing seems to have changed. That’s the right way to go about things.

“We have to take them very seriously. They are only eight points behind us if they win all three of their games in hand, so it’s a big game.

“My lads have been stepping up to the plate all season, so I expect nothing less from them again.”

Spalding are boosted by the return of key defender Nathan Stainfield after he served a one-game ban during last Saturday’s 6-2 win at Desborough Town.

But 38-goal striker Andrew Tidswell is a doubt after aggravating a knock in the same game.

Sam Mullarkey is on-hand to deputise for the leading scorer if he doesn’t recover in time.

Follow @LFPSport on Twitter for live updates from the clash, with team news and score flashes from about 2.45pm.