TULIPS: Sky’s the limit as Spalding gear up for opener

Bullish: Spalding boss Pat Rayment is targeting a big FA Cup run.
Bullish: Spalding boss Pat Rayment is targeting a big FA Cup run.
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FOR many, the prospect of Spalding United playing in front of the Sky Sports cameras would be quite amusing – but that’s what Pat Rayment is targeting in this year’s FA Cup.

The Tulips kick off what promises to be the biggest season in their recent history with a home tie against Leicestershire outfit Blaby and Whetstone on Saturday (3pm), just one week before the UCL Premier Division gets under way.

While Spalding are favourites for league glory, the best they can hope for in Britain’s premier cup competition is a coffer-boosting run.

With an expensively-assembled squad at his disposal, Tulips boss Rayment sees no reason why his charges can’t make a big impact.

He said: “There’s always a chance that you can get pretty far and eventually draw a Football League club. It’s been done before by the likes of King’s Lynn – and they were shown live on Sky. That has to be the ultimate aim for us.

“We want to compete for the UCL Premier Division title and do well in all the cups – and the FA Cup falls under that banner.

“The beauty of the FA Cup is that we obviously can’t win it, so it’s just something you can enjoy.”

Spalding warmed up for Saturday’s opener by thumping Moulton Harrox 5-0 at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Tuesday night.

Jacob Joyce and Tom James helped themselves to two goals each, while Callum Earls notched his second in as many pre-season games to round off the rout.

Having just edged out Harrox 2-1 in their opening friendly match last month, Rayment is happy with the progress his side have made over the summer schedule.

He added: “No disrespect to Moulton, but it was a no-brainer. If we play well, we’ll easily beat most local teams.

“You can see how the lads have gelled together over pre-season and the results now reflect that. I’ve got 17 fit players for Saturday and I’m still undecided on the starting line-up.

“We’re very fortunate to have a group of players that is of such a high standard.”

Injury-plagued duo Jay Smedley and Shane Tolley both got some much-needed game time against Harrox, but neither are expected to start on Saturday.

Meanwhile, midfielder Andy Toyne has left for Holbeach United on a month’s loan (see story, left) while keeper Lee Drury has decided to stay with the club, despite being frustrated with his lack of action during pre-season.

Rayment reckons the stopper has “every chance” of being number one at the club.