ALL SMILES: New Spalding United boss Gaby Zakuani. Photo by MARK GOODALE

Plenty of interest in top job at Spalding United as decision on new boss draws closer

Spalding United CEO Leigh Porter has revealed that the club’s search for a new manager is entering a critical phase.

The Tulips have been without a permanent manager since Lewis Thorogood resigned last week, with assistant boss Neal Spafford and former Peterborough United defender Gaby Zakuani stepping up as caretakers.

Porter, who revealed that Spalding have received as many as 12 applications for the position, has heaped praise on the efforts of Spafford and Zakuani despite the pair overseeing back-to-back defeats against Cleethorpes Town and Bedford Town.

He admits that the pair will be considered for the role full-time if they declare their interest, but added that the club won’t be rushed into making a rash decision.

“We’re obviously just over a week on from accepting Lewis Thorogood’s resignation as manager,” said Porter. “We weren’t in the privileged position of having a new manager ready to go – it wasn’t a preconceived change.

“We’re lucky that, in Neal Spafford, we had an assistant manager who was willing to help in any way he could.

“We also were fortunate to have an existing relationship with Gaby Zakuani, who has helped out numerous times and was on hand to offer a different perspective alongside Neal.

“They’ve both stepped up for us over what has been a very difficult period with far from ideal preparation for the two games they’ve overseen so far.

“As for what happens next, I always think that it’s a good idea to leave things for a week once you’ve asked for people to apply.

“We’re in no rush and we wanted to see who would step forward and contact us.

“Up until now, we’ve had ten to 12 applications and numerous phone calls, so it’s now all about considering our options and making the right decision.

“I think the candidates know what we’re about and that we’re serious with our big plans here at Spalding.

“From our part, we need a candidate with the right ethics and the necessary contacts and experience. We’re prepared to wait to make the best decision.

“I think Gaby and Neal have enjoyed being caretakers. For Gaby’s part, he was open about his short-term availability when he offered to help us out.

“I think he’s been bitten a little by the Spalding bug and by non-league in general.

“It’s very different to the professional game and he seems to be enjoying it.

“They are both taking training this week and we’d like to hear their thoughts on the job afterwards. Obviously their plan will help us decide what steps to take next.”

Spalding, who exited the FA Trophy on Saturday, are back in Pitching In NPL South East action at Worksop Town on Saturday (3pm).

It is thought that Spafford and Zakuani will remain in charge for the game away at a side that are expected to challenge for promotion this season.

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