Lincoln City travel south to face League Two new-boys Stevenage on Saturday, March 19th, where they will play at Broadhall Way for the first time in their history.
The only other occasion when the two sides have faced each other in the league came back in September, when the Imps lost 1-0 in what was Chris Sutton’s penultimate game as manager.
In their inaugural season in the Football League, Boro currently lie in 10th place with 51 points – five points ahead of the Imps in 14th.
“They’ve done ever so well,” claimed Lincoln boss Steve Tilson. “I think it shows that if the top three or four from the Conference get promoted, there isn’t a big jump from there and League Two.”
The Imps will be without captain Delroy Facey for the clash, and subsequently the rest of the season, after the Grenadian international dislocated his shoulder in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Macclesfield.
“It’s a big blow for Delroy – missing the last 10 games, and it’s a blow for us too,” explained Tilson. “He’s a presence on the pitch and a presence off it, and since he’s been made captain, it’s give him that little bit more responsibility and I think he’s flourished in it.”
Facey’s stint as Imps captain began in January, when he led the club to five consecutive wins in League Two that eased the relegation fears that had amassed over the festive period.
The likely replacement for the big striker would have been Ben Hutchinson, but the on-loan Celtic man was sent off for two bookable offences in that same game.
“He would’ve played on Saturday, but what he’s done is given someone else an opportunity, and if that person takes his opportunity, he can’t complain that he’s not in the side.
“Once you’re on that first booking and then you kick the ball away, you’re giving the referee the opportunity to send you off and he did.”
Hutchinson’s absence means that Scott Spencer looks set to partner the in-form Ashley Grimes in the Imps’ attack, in what will be his first start since signing on loan from Southend in January.
The 22-year-old has made six appearances for the Imps – all from the substitutes’s bench – with four of those appearances lasting less than five minutes.
Meanwhile, midfielder Clark Keltie played 75 minutes for the reserves in midweek after missing the last four months through injury.
However, Tilson won’t be rushing the 27-year-old back to first team action too quickly:
“He’s been out for almost double the length of the summer break, so for me, he needs a minimum of three or four games to be anywhere near match fitness.”
Stevenage manager Graham Westley welcomes back defender Scott Laird to his side after suspension, whilst Jon Ashton could also feature after recovering from a leg injury.
Kick-off at Broadhall Way is at 3.00pm.Tweet