FOOTBALL: Spalding United boss up for challenge
Spalding United face a tough test in their search for a first away win since October.
The Tulips have suffered six successive defeats on the road – but the weather also forced three postponements.
The scheduled trip to Sheffield was called off early on Tuesday afternoon.
Spalding have not played away from home since New Year’s Day at Cleethorpes Town – picking up two points in four matches so far in 2018.
This weekend, they head to sixth-placed Chasetown who are pushing for the play-offs after three consecutive wins.
Tulips manager Chris Rawlinson said: “They had a big budget last season but now they have brought in more experience.
We can’t carry on losing away from home so we’ve got to pick up points at some stage.
“They were still in the process of rebuilding when we beat them at home earlier in the season.
“When they beat us in the FA Trophy, they looked more like the finished article.
“Chasetown are a good side, especially at home, as the width of the pitch brings a different challenge.
“However, we can’t carry on losing away from home so we’ve got to pick up points at some stage.
“I feel comfortable with our squad and shape so why not give it a go?
“We won’t make changes tactically but there is a case of how we utilise our players to deal with their threats.
“The wing-backs can’t push on too much and I’d expect Chasetown to stick with a 4-4-2 system which leaves us with a free man in midfield.
“I like having three centre-halves against two forwards as well.”
Gary King scored the first goal in the 2-0 league win over Chasetown and equalised in Spalding’s 2-1 defeat in the Buildbase FA Trophy.
But the newly-appointed captain is serving a suspension.
Lee Beeson is back in Spalding’s squad after missing last weekend’s 1-1 draw at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Michael Antkowiak, who joined the Tulips on a work experience loan from Lincoln City’s academy, will continue in goal.
Michael Duggan and Ben Davison are unavailable but Conor Marshall is likely to play again despite a sore knee.
Matt Varley returned last weekend and Tom Siddons will spend a month on loan from King’s Lynn Town.
Rawlinson said: “The young keeper did really well on his debut and Lincoln can see the value of giving him a few games.
“Beeson will be back this weekend and, although there is an issue where something is not right with Marshall’s knee, he is prepared to get through games.
“It’s not a long-term issue and he wants to play.
“We never cancelled the registration for Varley but he has left Worksop Town to be here until the end of this season. We felt that we had missed his leadership and experience.
“Siddons has been a bit frustrated on the bench at King’s Lynn so he has come here to play a few games.”
Former England under-18 international Siddons had spells at Bourne Town and Sleaford Town.
King’s Lynn manager Ian Culverhouse told the club’s official website: “Tom’s move to Spalding is to get him some valuable time on the pitch.
“He’s scored some crucial goals and very much remains a valuable member of my squad.”