FOOTBALL: Duggan keeps focus on Spalding United’s play-off target

Michael Duggan
Michael Duggan
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South
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Michael Duggan feels “it’s still all to play for” as Spalding United chase a promotion play-off place.

The goalkeeper – who makes his 200th appearance for the Tulips on Saturday – has admitted that a home semi-final by finishing third is a more realistic target than challenging Shaw Lane and Witton Albion for top spot.

Hopefully we can finish the job this season. But there are a lot of big games to come.

Michael Duggan

The 30-year-old said: “I look at the fixtures and the teams around us who are all playing each other at this business end of the season.

“It’s still all to play for. We are probably playing for third spot, although we are not mathematically out of the title race.

“Last weekend’s first-half performance against Witton was disappointing. We were miles off the pace for the first 20 minutes.

“At half-time, the manager said we were awful. He’s a nice guy but that was as angry as I’ve seen him.

“We tried to get back into it and maybe we could have come away with a point but I thought Witton defended well.

“Saturday is a massive game for us. Prior to playing Witton, we felt winning all our home games would put us in the play-offs.

“Having lost the first one, we have to win the next one. We don’t want any worries going into the final few games.

“At the beginning of this season, the play-offs were our target.

“In our first season in this league, we just missed out.

“Last term ebbed out after the departure of Pat Rayment.

“This time I feel that we need to go to the next level because all the people who work hard behind the scenes have been fantastic.

“It’s a shame that we don’t get bigger crowds for a town of Spalding’s size.

“That has always been the case in my time here.

“Moving to the Tulips has worked out well because I am a PE teacher at Spalding Academy.

“I contacted Pat four years ago because I was not playing at St Neots Town.

“In my first season, we won the UCL Knockout Cup and the next year we were Premier Division champions.

“Being in the Evo-Stik NPL has been a challenge and I think it’s more competitive than the Southern League as I played for St Neots when they won the Central Division.

“From top to bottom in the First Division South, there are tough games every week.

“Hopefully we can finish the job this season. But there are a lot of big games to come.

“It was a big shock when Dave Frecklington left but we are still in a good position and Chris Rawlinson has told us to carry on.

“In his first meeting with the squad after he took charge, he said ‘nothing changes’.”