Big match preview: Torquay v Imps

Lincoln City make the long journey to the south coast this weekend as they take on fellow strugglers Torquay United at Plainmoor on Saturday (kick off 3pm).

It has been a case of one in and one out in terms of personnel at Sincil Bank this week. Drewe Broughton’s successful loan spell has been cut short by parent club Rotherham. Meanwhile, Chris Sutton has swooped to strengthen his delicate-looking defence.

Norwich City youngster David Stephens, who has represented Wales at youth level, has joined the club until the end of the season. He will challenge Moses Swaibu and Danny Hone for one of the two central defensive starting places on offer.

The Imps travel to Plainmoor in good form, but Torquay are in good spirits too. Photo: Pot Noodle via Flickr

Sutton was forced into recruiting a defender because of the injury crisis that is currently engulfing the Imps. Defenders Ian Pearce, Adam Watts and Nathan Baker all remain sidelined, as do Lenell John-Lewis and Chris Herd. Matthew Saunders is the latest addition to the catalogue of damage after going off injured in midweek against Dagenham.

But on a positive note, Clark Keltie and Richard Butcher are now fit for selection and will travel to Devon. That will increase the competition for places in central midfield where Shane Clarke has filled in admirably for the injured Herd in the past few games.

Meanwhile Broughton’s return to his parent club means Paul Connor will make his first start for the Imps since, ironically, featuring in the 2-1 home loss to Rotherham back in mid-February.

Torquay United are enjoying a purple patch of form at the moment and have gone six games unbeaten in the league. That run has loosened the threat of relegation but the Gulls are not yet safe from Football League execution.

Star winger Wayne Carlisle will miss the match after aggravating a previous knee injury in Torquay’s draw with Crewe last week. The speedy Mustapha Carayol could be given the nod to replace Carlisle. First choice goalkeeper Michael Poke and former Peterborough defender Kieran Charnock will also be missing from Paul Buckle’s squad. Scott Bevan will deputise for Poke while, in Guy Branston, the Gulls have enough experience to compensate for the loss of Charnock.

The last time these two sides went head to head was back in October when the two sides laboured to a 0-0 stalemate at Sincil Bank.

If the Imps manage to topple Torquay, they can go 14 points clear of Grimsby Town, who currently occupy the second relegation spot in the division.

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