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Pat Rayment
Pat Rayment

Spalding United boss Pat Rayment will operate a first come, first signed policy as he awaits answers from several of his transfer targets.

Rayment insists some of his targets may miss out if they wait too long to accept his offers.

Player-coaches Gareth Jelleyman and Nick Conroy last week became the Tulips’ first signings of the summer but Rayment is keen to bolster the squad after losing Dan Cotton to Yaxley and Johnny Allen, Adam Jackson and Tom Roberts to Holbeach.

Jamie Stevens, who last season skippered Spalding to the title, last week turned down a deal and is expected to join Holbeach but Rayment is confident of landing quality replacements.

He said: “I am interested in several players but I don’t have an order of preference.

“They are all good players so whoever accepts our offers first will be signed and the others may miss out.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve lost some of last year’s squad but I am very confident we will bring in very good replacements.

“We are not looking to replace like with like, we are determined to bring in players who are better than those who left, otherwise we are just standing still.

“We are competing with step two clubs and sides who are aiming for promotion from step three, that gives an idea of the calibre of players I am chasing.”

Rayment has missed out on one of his top targets, Lee Clarke, who signed for St Albans over the weekend.

With the Tulips learning last week that they will definitely play in the Evo-Stik South next season, Rayment is now better placed to finalise his team-building plans.

He admits: “I was a bit presumptuous when chasing players as I felt we probably would go in the South, so in terms of locality that is where I have focused.

“I hear we are already being talked of as being the favourites but I am not worried about that bringing added pressure.

“With the ambition of this club we are always going to have pressure.

“At the very least next season I want to finish in the top five to make the play-offs, but if we can go up as champions then even better.

“I want to take this club up to step three, where we’ve never been before, and while it is a big jump this club is geared for success.”

Rayment is looking for quality rather than quantity next season and will try to utitlise his whole squad.

He added: “I want to have a squad of 16 players but all high-end.”

Spalding have added an additional pre-season fixture at Deeping Rangers on Saturday, July 26 at 3pm.

Their full pre-season schedule is as follows:

Saturday, July 12 – Peterborough Sports (A) 3pm

Tuesday 15 – Boston United (H) 7.45pm

Saturday 19 – King’s Lynn (H) 3pm

Thursday 24 – Yaxley (A) 7.45pm)

Saturday 26 – Deeping Rangers (A) 3pm

Saturday, August 2 – Kettering Town (H) 3pm

Tuesday 5 – Huntingdon Town (H) 7.45pm.