TULIPS: Rayment’s relishing Spalding challenge

Spalding supremo: Pat Rayment
Spalding supremo: Pat Rayment
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NEW Spalding United manager Pat Rayment insists he’s here for the long haul after finally being unveiled by the club.

One of the UCL Premier Division’s worst kept secrets was confirmed on Friday, with Rayment chosen as the man to replace sacked Andy Stanhope.

Although the Tulips interviewed four other candidates, it was no surprise when the former Deeping Rangers boss and ex-Peterborough United player landed the role.

Rayment, who has been out of the game for almost a year after a brief stint as number two at Stamford, admits he already has half an eye on next season – but has challenged his new players to force their way into his long-term plans.

“I didn’t take the decision to come back lightly, but I’m looking forward to it,” said Rayment, who won the UCL with Spalding as a player in 1999. “It wasn’t always my plan to come back to the UCL, but the board’s ambitions met mine and I’d been waiting for that kind of opportunity, it just feels right.

“It’s not a short-term job. The club want to move forward and showed their ambition by giving the previous manager what I believe to be a top four budget.

“That budget will still be in place next season and it’s one I’m sure I can work with.

“It’s fair to say that I’ve got half an eye on next season. We can’t get relegated or win anything, but that doesn’t mean the remaining games aren’t important.

“I’ll naturally look to bring some new faces in, but it’s up to the current side to play their way into my plans.”

Rayment was in the stands for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Thrapston Town (report page 55) and admitted he was impressed with what he saw in the second half.

That match was overseen by caretaker boss Bob Don-Duncan and player/coach Danny Hussey – and the Tulips intend to keep both on at the club.

In Hussey, the new boss is reunited with a familiar face. The experienced defender was Rayment’s number two at Deeping, as they guided the Outgang Road club to fourth in the UCL Premier Division back in 2009/10.

That Rangers side was renowned for playing a free-flowing passing game, something he’s looking to bring to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

Rayment added: “From what I saw on Saturday, we’ve got a good young squad here.

“I think perhaps the team have been hampered by expectations this season. I want them to know that there’s no pressure and they are free to express themselves.”

Rayment, who is Spalding’s 17th manager in the past 12 years, inherits a side on an encouraging four-game unbeaten run – something of a rarity for past incumbents.

It’s the third campaign in succession that the Tulips have made a mid-season change of manager.