Losing 2-0 to a Derby side packed with stars may not on the face of it appear too bad, but it was the manner in which City went down to their sixth successive league defeat that will have given the management and supporters alike kittens. The latter have grown increasingly frustrated at the nervous and negative vibe of the players – the second goal a case in point where James Scott bore down on goal but was looking to pass instead of head for goal, in the end playing a poor pass that directly led to the goal. City’s slump has seen Gary Caldwell’s side drop from top of the league to 18th, and needs to be arrested soon.
Supporters will be crying out for City to start on the front foot against a side that moved to get rid of its manager after a poor run and has won both of their games since doing so. In terms of the side that will take the field, one concern will be up front where in his two starts since recovering from injury Luton loanee Admiral Muskwe has barely touched the ball – Caldwell will no doubt hope some game time in his legs will lead to improved performances but with the need for a win becoming ever more desperate he may need to shake things up. To that end Harry Kite may also come in to add some bite to the midfield, while Pierce Sweeney made way for Jack Fitzwater on Tuesday.
Despite a solid start to the season, Lincoln decided to part company with Mark Kennedy after a fifth defeat in seven games in all competitions. Tom Shaw is in caretaker charge, and if he is interested in the full time role has done himself no harm at all, with the Imps having won both games since he took charge – a 1-0 win at struggling Fleetwood and an impressive 3-1 defeat of Charlton on Tuesday night. That win saw Lincoln move up to 9th in the table, suggesting that this will be a tough fixture for an out of form City. Lincoln’s hero on Tuesday night was Hakeeb Adelakun, whose brace elevated him to top scorer with three league goals (four in total) suggesting the Imps have a similar problem to City in terms of firepower. Elsewhere Lukas Jensen in goal will be a tough player to beat, while Jaden Brown, signed from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer, is unlikely to feature against the side for whom he spent some time on loan without making an appearance, having not played under Shaw.
City had a good record in this fixture last season, picking up four points. Lincoln provided the first opposition for City’s return to League One, the match at Sincil Bank finishing 1-1 – City led in the first half through Nombe before Hopper equalised just after half time. The return at SJP saw O’Connor give the visitors the lead before a Nombe double in each half secured a 2-1 win despite a late red card for Alex Hartridge. That win closed the gap in league head to heads to 27-20 in Lincoln’s favour, 17 matches finishing level.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Jeremy Simpson
Assistant Referees: Robert Hyde and Robert Merchant
Fourth Official : Andrew Fox
We’ve not seen Jeremy Simpson take charge of an Exeter City game since September 2019 for our 3-1 win away at Carlisle United.