FOOTBALL: Rawlinson aims for comfortable finish

Conor Marshall
Conor Marshall
  • Evo-Stik South - Gresley v Spalding United
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Chris Rawlinson is looking up as Spalding United aim for a top-half finish.

The Tulips face a trip to bottom-of-the-table Gresley on Saturday.

But the manager insists Spalding won’t get involved in a fight against relegation.

Rawlinson said: “We’ve taken seven points from five games since Christmas so it’s not a bad return.

“Losing last Saturday at home to Kidsgrove Athletic has put the pressure back on a little bit.

“We don’t want back-to-back defeats for the rest of the season.

We want to be looking up the table and we are ready for that challenge.

Chris Rawlinson

“So this is an important game where we can pick up three more points.

“I don’t feel that four or five teams currently above us are uncatchable.

“We want to finish pretty comfortably in the top 10 or 12 where, on balance, we feel this squad should be.

“The only way we can get there is by earning results so we will have a target over the next five games as well.

“We want to be looking up the table and we are ready for that challenge.”

Newly-appointed skipper Gary King was sent off on his birthday last Saturday so he must serve a three-match ban.

He threw a punch which missed an opponent and hit team-mate Jonny Lockie.

Rawlinson added: “There was an allegation of spitting but the players have to learn to walk away from provocation on the pitch.

“They will be told again but maybe we’ll need to introduce a fines system as well.”

Vice-captain Neal Spafford will take the armband but Ben Davison is unavailable for the next two weeks.

Conor Marshall was taken off as a precaution with a sore knee last weekend.

Spalding lost at home to Gresley in November – just a few weeks after another penalty shoot-out exit from the Integro League Cup.

The Tulips are hoping to end a run of six successive away defeats dating back to October.

Meanwhile, the under-21 development team are back in action on Friday night at Quorn in a friendly.

Manager Lewis Thorogood said: “We’ll have a look at a couple of trialists because we want to strengthen the squad.

“We need to keep going but some of the lads will probably only get one half or 60 minutes because they could be involved at Gresley on Saturday.

“They still need minutes on the pitch at game tempo to stay sharp.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a fixture on a 4G pitch before the next league game.”

Spalding will resume their campaign in the Lincolnshire FA Under-21 Development League away to Sleaford Sports on Wednesday, February 21.