Lincoln will welcome Bradford City to Sincil Bank on Saturday, in what will be the Imps’ first home game in almost a month. That match, a home win against Chesterfield, ended a run of nine league games without a victory and has laid the foundation for what could be a mini-revival at the club.
The Imps followed up that result with a dramatic 2-1 win at Barnet, as Lenell John-Lewis’s injury time header secured all three points. The victory, coupled with relegation rivals Grimsby and Cheltenham playing out a stalemate at Blundell Park, meant that the weekend could not have gone better for Chris Sutton’s side.
And Sutton has been a busy manager in the run up to this weekend’s match, as he both maintains and ships the deadwood from his squad.
Nathan Baker has played nine games for the Imps since joining on loan from Aston Villa, and Sutton has been sufficiently impressed by the youngster to keep him at the club until the end of the season.
In addition to that, versatile wide man Cian Hughton has signed a new 18-month deal at the club after impressing in his first six months as a Lincoln player. But Janos Kovacs has been told that his services are no longer needed at the club, and he has been placed on the transfer list.
Kovacs was a consistent performer for the team last season, making 48 appearances in all competitions but has now been deemed surplus to requirements at Sincil Bank. Bradford will arrive in Lincolnshire burdened by their own poor form — the Bantams have only managed to beat League Two whipping boys Darlington and Grimsby in their last 13 games.
A 2-1 loss to Bury saw Bradford go five games without a victory, and with manager Stuart McCall under increasing pressure to improve results, a defeat this weekend could signal the end of his tenure. But Bradford still possess plenty of quality in their squad and, on paper at least, the personnel at McCall’s disposal have more ability than that of the Imps.
Zesh Rehman played almost 50 games for Queens Park Rangers in the Championship before moving to Yorkshire a year ago after a successful loan spell. His central defensive partner Matthew Clarke has bags of experience at this level, but after conceding eight goals in their last three games as a partnership, Lincoln will be hoping to ask questions of the out-of-form duo.
Ex-Aston Villa and Grimsby striker Michael Boulding has lost the electrifying pace he possessed in the early part of the last decade, but impressed against Bury last weekend and will need to be kept at bay if given a chance to start the game.
One man that does have frightening speed is Omar Daley and he may be another weapon Bradford equip from the substitutes bench in the second half. The teams have already met once this season when Rene Howe and Chris Fagan gave the Imps an impressive 2-0 away win at Valley Parade.
But much has changed since Peter Jackson’s side came away from Valley Parade with that win in August, and it will be intriguing to see how the match pans out this time round.
- Matt Glennon
- Simon Ramsden
- Scott Neilson
- Gareth Evans
- Rob Burch
- Paul Green
- Cian Hughton
- Delroy Facey
Prediction: Both teams will be desperate to get the points, for different reasons, but Sutton and McCall might have to settle for one point apiece.
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