Bullish boss Matt Easton is adamant that Spalding United should be looking to mount a promotion bid next season after a successful summer in the transfer market.
The Tulips, who narrowly avoided relegation in Evo-Stik NPL Division One East, have added three new players to their ranks so far and have retained the vast majority of the players he wanted to keep from last season’s squad.
Midfielder Lewis Brownhill (ex-Thatcham Town) has joined defenders Josh Spencer (ex-Grantham Town) and Ben Greenwood (ex-Sleaford Town) in agreeing terms at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
And, although Easton has lost the services of skipper Leon Mettam to Worksop Town, he’s managed to tie down key men Michael Duggan, Neal Spafford, Jenk Acar, James Hugo, Taron Hare, Scot Floyd, George Zuerner and Kegan Everington, while Archie Moyses is also likely to stay.
The Tulips are also hoping to add a midfielder and a striker to their ranks before the start of the new Evo-Stik NPL South East Division campaign, having sorted the crippling financial problems that hampered their progress last term.
“It’s been my first pre-season as a manager,” said Easton. “It’s been as busy as I expected, if I’m honest.
“It’s been an experience, for sure. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing and there have been plenty of negotiations.
“Thankfully, the players have all received their money from last season and we’ve moved on from that. We lost Leon (Mettam) before that happened, but we wish him well – he was very loyal.
“I’m pleased with the signings we’ve made. Lewis Brownhill is an exciting midfielder who won the FA Vase in his time with Thatcham.
“Josh Spencer had a brief spell with Grantham but spent much of last season in America. He’s a big, strong defender and likes to play the ball on the floor.
“Likewise, Ben Greenwood is a strong defender who will certainly help us improve upon some of the things that were lacking last season.
“We potentially have another midfielder coming in and we also need to step up our search for a striker after losing Leon.
“It’s also very promising to retain all of the other players we wanted from last season.
“We need to keep a loyal spine in place over a period of time. Michael Duggan and Neal Spafford have been her for some time, while we hope that the Kegan Everington and Jenk Acar will go on to do the same.
“I told all of the lads to go out and speak to whoever they wanted before deciding what they wanted to do. I know a few of the lads were close to going elsewhere, but I’m glad they’ve opted to stay.”
Easton is also happy to see the club in a much more positive position off the field. With the finances now in order, Easton has also been able to add coach Gavin Smith (a former Tulip in his playing days) to his backroom staff.
Their plan is to return later than their rivals and have a one-month intensive pre-season, which will include training twice a week.
Easton is hopeful that he’ll now be looking up the table rather than over his shoulder, but knows he’ll be judged by results.
He added: “I think everything is now pointing in the right direction.
“With that in mind, we have to be looking to be much higher up the table.
“There are a lot of good teams in our league with big budgets, but our aim has to be promotion. A lot of teams will be thinking that, but we need to be positive and find a way around that. We’ll look to be quicker and stronger on the pitch, while playing a bit more football.”
The Tulips’ first competitive game of the new season is a quarter-final clash at holders Cleethorpes Town in the Lincs FA Senior Cup on Saturday, August 3 (3pm).