TULIPS: Spalding set for game of the decade

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Buzzing Spalding United manager Pat Rayment has described Saturday’s FA Vase tie against Guernsey (3pm) as the biggest match of his managerial career to date.

A place in the last eight of the national competition is up for grabs as the Tulips welcome the Channel Islands outfit to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

It’s the furthest Spalding have been in the Vase since a home quarter-final with Tiverton in 1998, when over 1,000 fans turned out in force.

And Rayment is calling on the town to once again get behind his talented team, as they bid to take one step closer to a historic Wembley final.

“It’s the biggest game I’ve taken charge of and the biggest the club has seen in over a decade,” said the Spalding supremo. “I really hope the fans respond, this is a genuinely massive match.

“I still believe that this side can win the Vase and the league and I know from speaking to a few people that Guernsey are wary of our firepower.

“I’ve told the lads that I think they can win every single remaining game this season – and with some of the players we have now, it’s not unrealistic to include the FA Vase in that too.

“It’s going to be a cracking game and a great occasion. Looking at their results, they play attacking football like us – so there should be goals.”

Spalding have a clean bill of health for the glamour tie, with Gary King, Lee Beeson, Tony Battersby and new signing Jamie Thurlbourne all available.

They also have a much-improved playing surface, with South Holland District Council working wonders with the surface over the past few days. Rayment told the Spalding Guardian that he “couldn’t thank the council enough” for their efforts.

Should the tie be level after 90 minutes, it’ll go to extra time. But there will be no penalty shoot-out – meaning the Tulips would face a mammoth trip to Guernsey for a replay on Sunday, February 16.

Follow @LFPSport on Twitter for live updates from the Vase clash.