FOOTBALL: ‘Massive credit’ for Frecklington

Neal Spafford has served a suspension
Neal Spafford has served a suspension
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Stocksbridge Park Steels v Spalding United
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Four wins out of five games have pushed Spalding United closer to booking a play-off semi-final spot.

Since taking charge of the Tulips following the shock departure of manager Dave Frecklington last month, Chris Rawlinson has only suffered defeats to the top two teams in the league.

But they bounced back from those games against Shaw Lane and Witton Albion to pick up successive wins.

Going into Saturday’s trip to Stocksbridge Park Steels, there is a 10-point gap above sixth-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds who also have just seven games to go in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South.

Rawlinson said: “I watched Stocksbridge lose at home to Witton a month ago but they should have nicked a point.

“I think they are a good side. They are not dour and defensive as they are very much an attacking outfit who like to get the ball forward.

Jonny Lockie scored a hat-trick for Lincolnshire FA under-18s last weekend

Jonny Lockie scored a hat-trick for Lincolnshire FA under-18s last weekend

“They were impressive when they beat us at home so this is a different challenge.

“We are getting very close to a play-off place now but I’m sure Stocksbridge are still hoping to sneak into the top five.

“Their manager (Chris Hilton) has written off their chances but I don’t think it’s done and dusted at all.

“If they get on a good run, they have got a chance so we must be mindful of that. We know their strengths and weaknesses.

Teams in the chasing pack still have to play each other so they will drop points. It’s in our own hands.

Chris Rawlinson

“We can go there feeling confident after last weekend’s win at Leek Town.

“We are looking to keep everyone fresh and give time on the pitch for the squad as we’ve played a lot of football.

“Teams in the chasing pack still have to play each other so they will drop points. It’s in our own hands.

“Discounting the first game at Shaw Lane and the first half against Witton when we were a bit short, we have done really well since I have been in charge.

“We seem to be getting back into form and that’s what we need if we are going into the play-offs.

“Dave should take massive credit for putting together this team and ultimately we have won a lot of games.

“It has been a pleasure to take over and carry on the good work.

“The players are getting back to the way they started the season.”

Spalding should have a full-strength squad to select from on Saturday as Jonny Lockie and Neal Spafford are both available again.

Kern Miller (groin), Nathan Stainfield (ankle), Jenk Acar (groin) and Leon Mettam (hamstring) are expected to be passed fit.