Weakened Tulips keep aiming high

Champions Spalding United visit second-placed Huntingdon Town on Saturday.  ENGANL00120130923114641

Champions Spalding United visit second-placed Huntingdon Town on Saturday. ENGANL00120130923114641

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UCL champions Spalding are down to the bare bones for Saturday’s tricky clash at second-placed Huntingdon Town but manager Pat Rayment is calling for his side to maintain their excellent form.

Skipper Jamie Stevens and influential midfielder Chris Hall are major doubts as the Tulips bid to extend their unbeaten away record.

Stevens limped off early into the second half of last week’s victory at high-flying Rushden and Diamonds and Hall joined him on the injury list a day later.

Hall ran Sunday’s Lincoln 10k in bare feet for charity and has cuts to his feet that are unlikely to heal in time to play.

Rayment said: “At the moment I would say he has no hope of playing. It’s a big blow as he is the best midfielder in the division.

“We are determined to keep our standards up but we are running out of players.

“The fact it is everyone’s cup final when they come up against us makes it tough enough without having players out but we keep rising to every challenge thrown at us.

“We already know Andy Jackson and Jonny Allen are unavailable next weeek due to other commitments so I hope we don’t pick up any further injuries on Saturday.”

Spalding have won 31 of their 33 matches this season, a home defeat by Rushden and Diamonds and an away draw at Wisbech being the only games they haven’t won, and Rayment wants their great form to continue.

He added: “Our goals against tally (17) is fantastic but we also have a goal difference of 102. We have scored around 300 goals in all competitions in the last two seasons and I want us to keep on getting better.”

Rayment hopes crowds at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field will grow as the club build on this season’s success.

He added: “We regularly get 160-170 fans and I see no reason why we can’t get a further 100-150.

“I want to win a further promotion within the next two seasons and hopefully we will at least make the play-offs next season.”