Lincoln City host Hereford at Sincil Bank on Friday and will be hoping to forget the pre-match celebrations surrounding the World Cup trophy and instead concentrate on gaining a further three points towards League Two safety.
Hereford are no strangers to the Imps, who faced them in early February at Edgar Street, when the Bulls’ took all three points stuffing City 2-0. Friday’s match will be played in front of a bumper crowd due to the presence of the Jules Rimet trophy and manager Chris Sutton believes the sole focus is to win rather than think about anything else.
“Nothing changes for us, we’ve trained reasonably well this week and the preparation has gone as normal. We’ll go into the home game [and] we’ll go in looking to win the game.
“Just because there are more people in the stadium and hopefully at home that will work to our advantage and the supporters will get behind the team,” said Sutton.
Hereford sacked their manager John Trewick in midweek, with Chairman Graham Turner taking temporary control of the first team.
When a side loses their manager, the general mood of the players is one of motivation and wanting to win their next game to impress an incoming manager. Yet Sutton believes City must concentrate on their own performance rather than worry how Hereford react.
He said: “[Turner] has been in the game a long time and has a wealth of knowledge. I just hope that normally when teams’ get a new manager they usually end up winning I just hope we buck that trend and worry about ourselves.”
City, a side plagued with injuries over the previous months are still without playmaker Chris Herd, who is expected to be out on the sidelines for a number of weeks. Assistant player-manager Ian Pearce is also very doubtful with a hamstring problem along with Nathan Baker, Clark Keltie and Lenell John-Lewis, who remain unavailable for selection.
With players constantly picking up injuries, Sutton still keeps a positive head and declares that in these circumstances he looks at players of all ages when choosing the starting line-up.
“We’re looking at anyone really, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in the youth team or the reserves, [and] we just want to put a team out capable of winning a game.
“It’s like anything in life people have to step up and show that they are good enough, we don’t have any favourites here.
“My job is to put the best possible team out, it doesn’t matter if they are 15, 16, 17 or 45, we need to win games but on the other hand the players have to show that they are good enough,” said Sutton.
Lincoln’s goalkeeper Rob Burch has been ever present throughout this season and has on many occasions rescued City from the hands of defeat. The keeper has played behind several back fours this season but is confident of everyone in the side to put in a performance on Friday night.
He said: “I’m sure every manager would love to keep his same 11 all season, [and] then he would.
“But as I’ve said before I’m confident of whoever comes in and whoever plays in front of me. We’ve got a good squad here.”
In recent weeks veteran defender Ian Pearce has featured in City’s depleted side and Burch certainly recognises how important experience is for a team looking to secure survival.
“He’s great to have in the team, he’s been brilliant. He talks to the lads and gets us through it. It’s good to have Pearcey come in and help Moses [Swaibu], keeps us a good shape and keeps us organised,” said Burch.
Hereford are currently 18th in League Two and look to have lost sight of the playoffs for this season. Yet relegation also seems a distant reality as Turner’s men have 11 points between themselves and relegation bound Grimsby.
United’s last encounter was at home to grieving Macclesfield where goals from Reneil Sappleton and Emile Sinclair ensured a 2-0 victory in honour of the late Keith Alexander.
Top scorer for the Bulls, Leon Constantine has scored nine goals this season and will prove to be the only realistic threat for the Imps. The ever-blossoming partnership of Davide Somma and Drew Broughton in attack should provide City with enough firepower to take all three points at Sincil Bank.Tweet