FOOTBALL: ‘We’re heading in the right direction’

Neal Spafford
Neal Spafford

Spalding United complete their pre-season programme against two higher-level teams this week.

The Tulips face Kettering Town on Tuesady night at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.

The trip to Halesowen Town on Saturday is the final preparation for the Evo-Stik South campaign.

Goals by Jack Fixter and Nathan Whitehead earned a 2-0 win over Peterborough Northern Star in Spalding’s first home friendly at the weekend.

Manager Chris Rawlinson said: “It was comfortable and, having failed to score in the first three games, we’ve now kept two clean sheets.

“It was an opportunity to enjoy a lot of possession and break down the opposition with some passing play.

I thought Grantham Town were too good for us at that point when we played them in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup. So it will be interesting to see how we cope against Kettering and Halesowen.

Chris Rawlinson

“We’re heading in the right direction with two games to go against sides from the league above.

“I thought Grantham Town were too good for us at that point when we played them in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Cup.

“So it will be interesting to see how we cope against Kettering and Halesowen.

“Although they are still pre-season friendlies, we will need to get the shape right.”

Neal Spafford, Jonny Lockie and Danny Durkin are unavailable on Tuesday.

Spalding have completed a deal with midfielder Liam Harris – although they are also awaiting international clearance ahead of the first league game at Stocksbridge Park Steels on August 12.

Harris – who replaced Matt Varley for the second half on Saturday – has spent the last six months full-time in the Swedish third division.

Under-21 development team goalkeeper Alex Smith has also signed league forms as back-up to number one Michael Duggan.

Spalding’s youngsters won 2-1 at Teversal last week with goals from Lewis Millington and Calum Stewart.

Development manager Lewis Thorogood said: “It was a really good performance with nearly our strongest side on the pitch.”

The under-21s are away to Lincoln Moorlands Railway on Wednesday.

Spalding are at home to Coventry United on Saturday (11.30am kick-off).

Meanwhile, the Tulips will have a new sponsor’s name on the front of their shirts this season.

Nationwide company VegTrug, who had already bought the advertising space on the back of the shirts, won the raffle organised by club chairman Andy Gay.