Tulips ready for big challenge

Nathan Stainfield
Nathan Stainfield
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Three home games in eight days are the biggest spell of Pat Rayment’s time in charge at Spalding United.

And the Tulips boss admits they are “absolutely relishing the challenge”.

Pre-season title favourites Stafford Rangers come to the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Saturday.

Spalding face Belper Town on Tuesday night in the Evo-Stik League First Division South and then take on Nantwich Town the following Saturday in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup.

Rayment said: “The next three games are the biggest we’ve had since I’ve been involved at the club because Stafford and Belper are both among the title favourites and then we’ve got the next round of the FA Cup against a side from the division above us.

“We welcome the challenge but we are fully aware going into Saturday’s game that it is a painful reminder of how Stafford were punished at our place last season and they will want to put it right.

“I know these three teams will not be looking forward to coming here to face us.

“I get on well with those other managers but for all the planning we do, it still comes down to 11 players on each side.

“We’ve got three key men coming back which is a huge boost and the opposition won’t like playing against them.”

Nathan Stainfield and Dan Banister are back in the squad while Spalding have signed Ross Watson from King’s Lynn Town.

Rayment added: “He will give us that experience and quality plus toughness both physically and mentally.

“This is a fresh challenge for him coming to us.”

Bank Holiday Monday’s scheduled trip to Gresley was called off due to the Derbyshire club having a midweek cup replay.

Spalding had needed a half-time rant from Rayment to inspire a fightback and beat lower-league Radford.

Rayment said: “Some of the players just thought it was going to happen for them.

“Quite frankly they were told if they carried on playing like that then they would be out of the club by 5pm that night.”