Next Up: Lincoln City vs Exeter City

City’s recent revival stuttered to a halt on Tuesday night against a Derby side who showed why they are in the promotion mix by being clinical in front of goal despite enjoying only limited play. While Gary Caldwell was critical of City’s defending, the overall display was encouraging – and the effort warmly applauded by a large number of supporters after the match. Caldwell will not therefore be forced into any panic measures, with any changes more to freshen things up than borne out of any need for change in the wake of a defeat. Pierce Sweeney is likely to return for Will Aimson (who seemed more like his old self against Derby after a rough run recently), while Dion Rankine’s energy may be an asset at Lincoln as City hit the road looking for a fourth successive away win.

Lincoln have had what may be described as a pretty nondescript season, never seemingly bothering the battles at either end of the table. Mark Kennedy started the season in charge (with former City player Danny Butterfield alongside him in the dugout) but he was somewhat surprisingly dismissed in October. His replacement was Michael Skubala, a former PE teacher who had a brief spell in caretaker charge at Leeds last season. Skubala endured a rough start, winning just two of his first thirteen league matches, but the Imps are now unbeaten in their last six – albeit only two of those games resulting in wins. Skubala wasn’t particularly busy in the January window, the one key signing being the loan return of former favourite Conor McGrandles, while “blink and you miss him” former City loanee Jaden Brown is now playing alongside City’s James Scott on loan at St Mirren. Like City, one thing that stands out at Lincoln this season is the lack of a regular goal scorer, their top scorer being Daniel Mandroiu with just five. Reeco Hackett-Fairchild is one to watch, having scored Lincoln’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Charlton on Tuesday night.

The reverse fixture came during City’s wretched run during October, but a 1-1 draw provided a rare ray of sunshine – Lincoln led at half time through Alistair Smith, but Ryan Trevitt’s late goal sealed a point. The scoreline was the same at Sincil Bank on the opening day of last season – Sam Nombe gave City the lead in the first half after a sublime piece of skill from Jevani Brown, but Tom Hopper equalised shortly after half time to ensure City’s return to League One ended in a draw. Lincoln enjoy the best of the league head to heads with a 27-20 lead, 18 matches have finished level.

The match officials for this game will be:-

Referee: Matt Corlett
Assistant Referees: Graeme Fyvie and Paul Newhouse
Fourth Official : Oliver Bickle

It’s first season as an EFL referee and so it’s first time taking charge of an Exeter game.

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Interview with Yanic Wildshcut

Interview with Gary Caldwell

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