In football the months of June and July are used by teams to get their current crop of players fit and ready for the new season. Those two months of rest and rehabilitation allow time for club managers to infuse some new blood into the squad. Lincoln City manager Chris Sutton has made a total of six new signings.
Two of those signings, Mustapha Carayol and Josh O’Keefe, have both impressed during pre-season, putting them in a good position for the season opener away at Rotherham. Carayol possesses pace and skill while O’Keefe fills the role of a reassuring central attacking midfielder.
Gambian-born Carayol will face former club Torquay in Lincoln’s first home game at Sincil Bank on August 14th. However, he’s concentrating on more pressing matters — reaching the play-offs with a shot at promotion.
The former Gulls winger said: “I’ve always said that if we’re not aiming for play-offs it’s not a good thing. We’ve got a young team so I think we’ve just got to go for it and I’m sure with a bit of luck we’ll make the play-offs.”
Known most of all for his quick bursts down the left flank, Carayol strongly believes that for a team to be successful you need the type of players who are willing to attack.
“If we want to score goals we need those types of players. I don’t think it’s just down to me and [Albert] Jarrett only. Everyone has also got to be direct when we go into attack.
“Obviously as well as that we’ve got to defend as a team and I’m sure the strikers will get on the scoresheet. When Gav [McCallum] gets to full fitness I’m sure he’ll score a lot of the goals.
“Looking at our performances in the last few games [pre-season friendlies] we do attack well but it’s just the defensive side of the game that’s a problem. But I’m sure we’ll sort that out on our own.”
Josh O’Keefe signed for the Imps on a two-year deal in May after he was released by Walsall. However, the central midfielder doesn’t view dropping a division a step back in his career and wants to focus on first team football.
“I just want to break into the team, to do as well as I can to show everyone what I can do and see where we go from there.
“Coming in here the lads have been great, it’s been really fresh with some new lads coming in, and I think we can do something this year.”
Throughout pre-season O’Keefe has played alongside captain Scott Kerr, and on several occasions it has proved to be an impressive partnership.
This is a tactic manager Sutton has encouraged, O’Keefe explained: “I’m a strong attack minded player, and the gaffer has told me to get forward as well as Scott [Kerr] and hopefully I can get a few goals as well.”Tweet