FOOTBALL: Rivals ready for tonight’s derby

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Rivals Spalding United and Deeping Rangers do battle at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field tonight (December 4, 7.45pm).

It’s the second meeting between the UCL Premier Division duo this season, with Rangers winning the Outgang Road reverse 2-0.

Tulips boss Pat Rayment has Tom James and Kieran Doherty suspended, while new keeper Alex Street is unavailable after being in a car crash on Saturday.

Rangers chief Tuncay Korkmaz welcomes back Dave Burton-Jones from a ban, while new signing Lewis Stone is pushing for a first start.

Rayment, who is boosted by the return of skipper Lee Canoville, is adamant his side will rise to the occasion in the derby duel as they prepare for a first competitive outing since November 17. He said: “We didn’t turn up against them last time, it’s that simple.

“To be fair, we’ve made plenty of changes since the last time we played them. But you know what you’re going to get from Deeping – they’ll work the channels and make like difficult for us.

“Having three games postponed in a row hasn’t been ideal, but we’ve trained well and we’re ready.”

Turkish tactician Korkmaz sees Spadling as bona-fide title contenders – and admits a win could provide the boost his side need to reel in the top four.

He said: “Spalding are one of the top sides in this league, no question.

“They have so much quality all over the pitch, but we have to concentrate on ourselves.

“I don’t think we’re playing for top spot, but beating them would keep us in the mix.”

Leaders Holbeach United aren’t in action tonight – but could lose their grip on top spot if St Ives Town thrash basement boys Irchester by four goals or more.

Follow @LFPSport on Twitter for live updates from the South Lincolnshire derby.