FOOTBALL: Boss waits over deals for key players at Spalding United

Chris Rawlinson
Chris Rawlinson
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Spalding United manager Chris Rawlinson expects more players to agree deals this week for their title bid next season.

The Tulips have secured the services of Conor Higginson, Jordan Lemon, Jonny Lockie, Neal Spafford, Paul Walker and Matt Varley since losing the promotion play-off final.

Rawlinson is waiting for responses from other key players over offers to stay at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.

He said: “We were busy last week and it is starting to come together.

“I believe a lot of the lads have made up their minds – but we still need to get over the line with those deals.

“I’m hoping we can get deals done this week to keep the majority of last season’s squad together.

Paul Walker is a key player for us and I thought he improved as last season went on. I didn’t see a better full-back in our league.

Chris Rawlinson

“We are also talking to a few transfer targets who would boost us. But we won’t need to bring in too many signings because we’ve got plenty of quality.”

Rawlinson was delighted that Walker agreed to extend his contract after naming him as the manager’s player of the year at the end-of-season awards.

He added: “Walker is a key player for us and I thought he improved as last season went on. I didn’t see a better full-back in our league.

“He also gives us versatility within a smaller squad when he can switch to left-back, centre-half or midfield.

“I could have given the manager’s award to the likes of Michael Duggan or Nathan Stainfield.

“But I felt Walker showed consistency by playing nearly every minute of every game. I can count on one hand how many bad performances he had last season.

“If he has reached 150 games and won promotion at the end of last season, his stock will be even higher.

“Any non-League player has that prerogative to talk to other clubs and wait for any deals on the table.

“He has still got time to play at a higher level.”

Spalding have arranged the first pre-season friendly at Winterton Rangers on July 12.

The Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup quarter-final has been switched to Grantham Town on July 15.

The Tulips will go to Boston Town on July 22 and then face Peterborough Northern Star at home to July 29. Further dates will be added to the summer schedule.