FOOTBALL: ‘Wake-up call’ for Spalding United
Spalding United boss Chris Rawlinson’s summer plans will be influenced by the level of performance against his former club on Saturday.
The Tulips are aiming to avoid a third successive defeat while Lincoln United will just miss out on a promotion play-off place in the Evo-Stik South.
Spalding’s unbeaten run of six away games was ended with a 5-1 loss at Sheffield on Tuesday night.
That followed a 3-1 home defeat to Leek Town last weekend which left the Tulips waiting for their first win of 2018 at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
Rawlinson said: “We were awful in the first half against Sheffield.
“Too many players looked to be already on holiday by not giving the correct levels of work-rate and desire.
We don’t want to finish with three defeats which will potentially change how we look at the squad.
“The midfield didn’t get tight enough and the defence dropped too deep. Apart from Ben Davison, we were toothless up front.
“We were soundly beaten – no excuses. At 2-0 down, we got a kick up the backside. The third goal was a fantastic free-kick and that killed off the game.
“I’ll take nothing away from Sheffield because they played some lovely football on a wet surface.
“It was a wake-up call for us, though. We’ll need to have a re-think about what we need to do over the summer.
“We don’t want to finish with three defeats which will potentially change how we look at the squad.
“We need to get a decent performance on Saturday.
“Everyone in the squad is out of contract or coming to the end of the registration so we need to get it right for next season in a challenging league.
“I must consider what we are missing and where we need to add to the squad.”
Goalkeeper Alex Smith, central midfielder George Stainfield and forward Marcel Chipamaunga – who are over-age for the under-21 development squad next season – have been invited back for pre-season training.
Gary King, Matt Varley, Jonny Lockie and Davison will miss Saturday’s derby but Conor Marshall and Paul Walker are back in the squad.
Lincoln and Spalding will celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force as they meet on the final day of the season.