PLAY-OFFS: ‘We’re at home – we’ve got to make it count’

Spalding United
Spalding United
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South play-off semi-final - Spalding United v Stocksbridge Park Steels

A bumper crowd and home advantage in the promotion play-off semi-final can make the difference for Spalding United tonight.

The Tulips face Stocksbridge Park Steels at the Sir Halley Stewart Field for a place in Saturday’s promotion final.

The winners will go on to meet Witton Albion or AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Tulips manager Chris Rawlinson said: “Stocksbridge Park Steels are a threat and we’ve done quite a lot of work in training to deal with that.

“They are a good side. One or two of their players are as good as anyone in this league.

“Having Joe Lumsden back from injury coincided with their eight-match winning run.

Hopefully, we will get a big crowd behind the boys to help them over the line.

Chris Rawlinson

“Lumsden and Harrison Biggins are good players at this level, while Scott Ruthven does a good job as well.

“They picked up points to get in the play-offs because they got on a run playing every Saturday and Tuesday.

“We’re playing at home and we’ve got to make that count.

“Hopefully, we will get a big crowd behind the boys to help them over the line.

“Getting promoted is the achievement for Spalding, not finishing third.

“We don’t want to sit back in a deckchair this summer thinking that we had a good season but we’re still going to be in the same division.

“We have been in the top three since August. Now we have to go out there and win tonight to reach the play-off final on Saturday.

“We’ve got experience in this squad with players like Matt Varley, Jordan Lemon, Nathan Whitehead and Leon Mettam who have been in the play-offs at previous clubs.

“It’s all about who does better on the day.

“Last season at Lincoln United, we caught up and we felt it was an achievement to get in the top five. We didn’t expect to get there.”

Varley and Jonny Lockie are set to be back in the squad after missing the 3-1 home win over Northwich Victoria in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South.

Tonight’s play-off match is being sponsored by the Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.