Spalding manager puts trust in youth ahead of Chasetown game
Spalding United manager Lewis Thorogood is encouraging supporters to think of the future as they watch his side play their remaining 11 league games this season.
The Tulips' boss named nine under-20s in his squad for their 3-1 defeat to Belper Town in the BetVictor Northern League South East Division at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field last Saturday.
It came at the end of a turbulent week when three influential players, ex-captain Lewis Brownhill, brother Joel and defender Ben Greenwood, all left the club for financial reasons.
Thorogood's playing budget has been slashed by the club's owners as they seek to settle what the manager called "outstanding, historic debts" in order to get Spalding "back on the straight and narrow".
But despite losing three senior players, and Saturday's final result, Spalding turned in a spirited performance against Belper that left Thorogood hopeful of a win when his side host Chasetown on Saturday.
Thorogood said: "I had to name three 19-year-olds in my back four against Belper, with a 17-year-old in holding midfield, a 17-year-old on the left and an 18-year-old on the right.
"I looked at the bench I'd got, with two 17-year-olds and a 19-year-old.
"But they played like they'd been together for ever and I take real positives from the fact that we've got such a young squad of players who stepped up to the plate against team who will be in the play-offs.
"I'm not happy that we lost the game because losing fixtures isn't the mentality that I want.
"You can sit here and feel sorry for yourself, blame others and find excuses.
"But that's not how I work and I said from the get-go that I'm here to move this club forward."
Thorogood and his players will need to be wary of a new manager's bounce for Chasetown after the Staffordshire-based club sacked Scott Dundas last weekend and replaced him with ex-player Mark Swann.
The Scholars currently lie 18th in the league, four places and 13 points behind the Tulips but five points above relegation-threatened Wisbech Town who are bottom.
Thorogood said: "Chasetown are a very different sort of side to Belper and they're going through a very difficult period.
"With the best will in the world, Chasetown are in a relegation battle and so they'll be fighting for their lives.
"The manager will have a week to work with them and give them a bit of a kick start so we can't take anything for granted."
Striker Jack Smith faces a race to be fit for Saturday after picking up an injury against Belper.
Thorogood said: "It's a transitional period for us and we're probably going to have some difficult moments in games.
"But this is going to help the players in their educational journey to become a better side and put us in good stead for next season."
More by this authorWinston Brown