City’s promising start to the season continued with a creditable 1-1 draw at fancied Swindon, and Paul Tisdale will hope his side remains unbeaten in the league following the welcome return of a side that has been languishing in non league. The attention from last Saturday was mainly drawn towards the impressive debut from the bench of 16 year old Jack Sparkes, who looks likely to be the next star to emerge from City’s much vaunted academy. Sparkes is likely to be on the bench again for the visit of Lincoln although home fans will be clamouring to see their new “He’s one of our own” prospects in action at some point. Ryan Harley, Dean Moxey and David Wheeler are injury doubts, the latter having been withdrawn at Swindon.
A club that has been fan owned, plays in red and white, is based in a cathedral city and has been in non league – the parallels between City and their visitors on Saturday are clear. The Imps after having rarely troubled the top end of the National League table during their tenure at the fifth tier got their act together spectacularly last season, making headlines not just for their stroll to the title but more particularly for their amazing run to the FA Cup, which finally ended just one step away from a trip to Wembley at the Quarter Final stage when Arsenal (conquerors of fellow non-leaguers Sutton in the previous round) saw them off. Most of the credit for this transformation must be in the poaching of the Cowley brothers from Braintree – manager Danny and his assistant Nicky, touted as amongst the brightest young things on the managerial circuit. Their style is somewhat no nonsense but is incredibly effective, and the Imps now have two Matts to fear up front as Matt Green, late of Mansfield, is expected to partner the chiselled Matt Rhead in attack. They have made a steady start to life back in the league with two draws and a narrow defeat to Rotherham in the Carabao Cup.
The last time the sides met was in the 08/09 campaign, when City did the double over Lincoln. The corresponding fixture saw Lincoln lead through Lenell John-Lewis, before sub Craig McAllister made an immediate impact, scoring and then setting up Dean Moxey for the winner in added time, either side of a red card for Dany N’Guessan. It was Moxey again who struck deep into the match at Lincoln, although the goal has since been “credited” to Lincoln goalkeeper Rob Burch as an OG. It is Lincoln who hold the league head to head lead with 25 wins to City’s 18 (15 draws).
The match officials for this game are:-
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Referees: Steven Plane and Justin Amey
Fourth Official: Robert Dabbs
This is Surrey based Craig Hicks first season refereeing in the Football League.