Spalding lose three players as budget cuts overshadow 'physical battle' ahead at home to Belper
Spalding United's preparations ahead of a "physical battle" against Belper Town on Saturday have been thrown into turmoil after the departure of three players just two days before the game.
Inspirational captain Lewis Brownhill, his brother Joel and defender Ben Greenwood have all left the Tulips on the eve of their BetVictor Northern Premier League South East Division clash at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field tomorrow.
Manager Lewis Thorogood has seen his player budget slashed by the club's owners due to "outstanding, historic debts" having to be paid.
Thorogood said: "It's public knowledge that we've had new owners who have come and taken over the club, with the aim of getting it back on the straight and narrow.
"Unfortunately, the club keeps finding outstanding, historic debts which it's paying off.
"I can't fault the efforts of the current board to get that all sorted out, but it's forced us into a position where the playing budget has been hit.
"I've spoken to every member of the squad and had to have an honest and frank conversation with them all.
"I've had to look at the players who are the higher earners, those who have been through the most difficult times, those who are furthest away from the club geographical and those who have had offers from other clubs.
"So it's with a very heavy heart that I've had to part ways with Lewis Brownhill, Joel Brownhill and Ben Greenwood.
"They've been absolutely fantastic throughout the season, excellent performers for the club and we've parted on very good terms with all three of them."
Thorogood revealed that one more player, who he chose not to name, could also leave and they "gone away to think about the situation."
"Nobody wanted to go and all the players wanted to stay," Thorogood said.
"As a manager, I've been left with the most difficult decision to cut my budget for the remainder of the season, with 12 games left.
"We still have aspirations to finish as high as we can, while also starting to have an eye on building a squad for next season.
"But this is about the safety, sustainability and future of Spalding United Football Club and I'm the one who's had to decide which players should be the ones to leave.
"The board has backed my decisions and there's no rift in the camp."
Thorogood thanked the three players for their service to the Tulips and confirmed that he was "actually helping them to find other clubs".
In the meantime, Thorogood urged fans to come out and back Spalding against fourth-placed Belper tomorrow (Saturday).
"Belper will be a physical battle and so we've got to step up to the plate," Thorogood said.
"They'll be dangerous at set-pieces and trying to turn us defensively so we've working on the training pitch to iron out out defensive deficiencies in order to put out a team against Belper who will compete.
"We need the support of the town of Spalding and I want them to come through the gates, support us and help move the club forward.
"I was very upset this week and I didn't want these players leaving to happen.
"There are a lot of managers and clubs in the league who have contacted me in the last 24 hours, offering us their support because we have mutual respect for each other.
"We''l have a more youthful squad and so I want people to turn out on Saturday when they'll hopefully see players who will give them something to get excited about."