Vase derby test for Fenmen

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Ex-Spalding United forward Tony Battersby believes his Wisbech Town teammates need to be at their best to win at their unbeaten league rivals in Saturday’s FA Vase derby.

Spalding set a new UCL record for a best-ever start to a season when defeating Wellingborough Town at home on Saturday, making it 17 wins from 17 starts.

Battersby, a former FA Trophy winner with Grays Athletic in 2005, played in the early part of the season for the Tulips.

The veteran urged the Fenmen to concentrate on the whole home team in the third round at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, not just one player, saying: “It is the team.

“You have got to respect Pat (Spalding manager Pat Rayment) and the squad he has got together.

“Putting money aside, he has got a good bunch of lads. The club’s going places and going to take some beating. Everyone needs to be at their very, very best to beat them.”

But he said: “We’re not doing too badly, are we? We’re holding our own at the moment: we’ve scored something like 24 goals in five games.

“If we do keep a clean sheet I fancy our chances of winning. I’ll say my bit about them in the dressing-room at the right time.”

The 38-year-old ex-Sheffield United and Lincoln City striker added: “There’s not a lot between the two clubs: Wisbech has probably the better ground and a bigger fanbase.”

Midfielder Steven Reid returns from suspension while joint boss Paul Cousins is suspended.

The Tulips have also made a seven-day notice of approach for Wisbech defender Jon Fairweather, but there was no news at the time of going to press.