Tulips boss looks at options

SAFE HANDS: Spalding number one Michael Duggan is unavailable for Saturday's pre-season friendly at home to St Ives Town. Photo by Tim Wilson
SAFE HANDS: Spalding number one Michael Duggan is unavailable for Saturday's pre-season friendly at home to St Ives Town. Photo by Tim Wilson
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Pat Rayment is still trying to find the right balance at Spalding United.

With just over two weeks to go before the Evo-Stik League season kicks off, the Tulips boss admits that time is running out.

Rayment remains uncertain over the best formation for his new-look squad - but insists: “We will get there.”

He said: “When I first took over we assembled a squad with more players than we have currently got and the only difference was that they were more established.

“I remember a pre-season game where they looked a shambles and I asked Marcus Ebdon ‘what have we done?’

“We are nowhere near as bad as that but I want us to build momentum right from the beginning.

“A poor start and calamitous end to last season cost us promotion.

“I’m happy enough that we can make this team more exciting than we have had before.

“However, at the moment I still don’t know the best system to play.

“We are assessing that but we are running out of games and training sessions.

“We have tried 4-3-3 which then becomes 4-5-1 but we don’t play with a single striker. Maybe we need to look at other options and keep tinkering with them.

“We are not where we need to be but we will get there.

“We are lacking experience but if we ever needed to bring somebody in then we would act.

“I want to give time to a more youthful side and they won’t gain experience unless they play games. We are not hiding behind that.

“We know why we have brought these players to the club. We believe they are good enough for what we are trying to achieve.

“It’s a case of getting the blend and balance right. You can only have a calculated guess without any guarantees when you sign players.

“An example at a higher level would be how everyone thought Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard would play well together but they never rediscovered their club form for England.

“So we will keep tinkering around with our line-up because we want more energy and pace along with better ball players.

“They are just lacking experience but we will have to deal with that and keep going along.”

George Zuerner struck twice against his former club Boston Town as the Tulips ran out 3-1 midweek winners with Tom Waumsley also on target before the break.

Rayment added: “Zuerner has done himself no harm and by his own admission he should have easily had a hat-trick because he got himself into good scoring positions.

“On the back of that performance, though, he will start Saturday’s game.

“When we made four substitutions on Tuesday night we started to take our foot off the pedal.

“But for the first hour we played at a good tempo and created quite a few chances.

“Overall I was pleased but we are still a long way off.

“Some players are starting to step up to the plate with their form so it’s our job now to get them all where we need them to be.”

Former Hitchin Town player Jack Beckett - who can play in midfield or at right-back - has been offered terms to sign for Spalding after two appearances against Holbeach United and Boston.

Following Saturday’s home game against St Ives Town, Spalding will complete the pre-season programme at Deeping Rangers on Tuesday - replacing the scheduled trip to Peterborough Northern Star - and then have a bonding session the following weekend before the Evo-Stik League First Division South season opener at Romulus on August 15.

Goalkeeper Michael Duggan is unavailable this weekend but club captain Adam Jackson returns from holiday - leaving Nathan Stainfield and Dan Banister as the only absentees.