FOOTBALL: Semi-final target for Spalding United

Nathan Whitehead will miss the game on Friday
Nathan Whitehead will miss the game on Friday
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Spalding United are looking to cause another cup shock – despite handing over the advantage of a home tie.

The Tulips will make the trip to Grantham Town on Friday night in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup quarter-final.

Spalding were drawn at home but the Sir Halley Stewart Field is not ready so the venue was switched.

Last summer, they won 1-0 at Boston United thanks to a last-gasp goal by substitute Rees Longville-Daley before losing to Stamford in the next round.

Now the Tulips will aim to knock out another higher-ranked side in their first competitive game of the new campaign.

Boss Chris Rawlinson said: “We’d love to reach the semi-final again.

Two or three of those young lads will be involved with the first-team squad on Friday night. We are working very closely as a management team and all the training sessions have been together.

Lewis Thorogood

“We will need to be at our best because Grantham are a good side and this is our second game in 48 hours.”

Midfielder Nathan Whitehead is unavailable but Rawlinson plans to pick the majority of the team which performed well last season.

The winners are away to Lincoln City or Gainsborough Trinity who meet on Saturday.

The other semi-final will see Boston United at home to Grimsby Town who knocked out Scunthorpe United 4-0 on Thursday.

In midweek, Boston won 1-0 at Lincoln United while Grimsby claimed a 3-2 victory over Stamford.

Spalding kicked off their pre-season programme with a 1-0 defeat at Winterton Rangers on Wednesday night.

Rawlinson added: “We made five changes at half-time and after that we should have scored four or five times.

“I saw enough to know we will be fine and overall I wasn’t unhappy with how it went.

“It was a test as we threw four new signings in at the deep end - two at centre-half and two up front.

“We defended well and got in a few times at the other end.

“We let in a sloppy goal from a corner which was disappointing.

“However, it was a good work-out in our first friendly after four training sessions.”

The under-21 development team shared four goals with Bourne Town on Tuesday.

Sven Hart – who has been at Stamford-based FCV Academy – got both goals for Spalding.

Under-21 manager Lewis Thorogood said: “Although we have taken a few lads who we coached at Boston United last season, there are a lot of new players brought into the club or promoted through the system.

“So it was nice to get off to a positive start against Bourne.

“We had to manage the physical element and a more direct approach which will stand them in good stead.

“Two or three of those young lads will be involved with the first-team squad on Friday night.

“We are working very closely as a management team and all the training sessions have been together.”

The under-21s are away to Blackstones on Tuesday.