It has once again been a summer of change for Lincoln City. Seven players have departed from the Imps this summer, while no fewer than ten players have made Sincil Bank the next step in their professional careers. The difference this season to previous seasons however? Hope.
As assistant manager to the late Keith Alexander, current boss Gary Simpson was an integral part of the coaching staff when Lincoln reached the League 2 play-offs in four consecutive seasons during the mid 2000s. Appointed in February 2013 with the club just two points above the drop zone, Simpson was tasked with the job of steering the Imps clear of a potentially disastrous relegation. This he did by a six point margin, and it is this history with the club that has earned Simpson the respect and the trust of the Imps’ faithful.
On top of this, it has been a promising pre-season for Lincoln City.
The campaign began with a 7-1 thumping of local club Lincoln United (a Danny Rowe hat-trick being the highlight of the match), followed by a good 3-2 win at Conference North club Harrogate Town (with new signing Nick Wright bagging all three goals.)
Disappointing defeats followed away to Grantham Town (1-2) and home to Sunderland u21s (0-2), however these were soon rectified with home wins against Middlesbrough u21s (a 2-1 victory with new signings Adi Yussuf and Ben Tomlinson getting the goals) and Scunthorpe United (2-0, Waide Fairhurst with a brace.) A productive pre season ended with a 1-0 home win against Boston United, a late Sean Newton free kick enough to secure the win and the John Reames Memorial Trophy, a match played in memory of Lincoln’s former chairman and manager John Reames.
Of course pre-season can never be taken as a true reflection of how the season will pan out. Friendlies are often seen by managers as nothing more than extended training work outs and an opportunity to try out new formations and tactics, while very few players will give their all in a meaningless match knowing that the season is just around the corner.
There is certainly reason to be hopeful for the Imps fans this season. The departures of last season’s top scorers Jamie Taylor and Vadaine Oliver caused concern over where the goals would come from, however a prolific pre-season would suggest this is not going to be a problem. Last season’s first choice keeper Paul Farman has signed a new two year deal, as have key defenders Tom Miller and Andrew Boyce. Captain Alan Power has also committed his long term future to the club, ensuring that much of last season’s spine has been kept.
Coupled with several new additions, this has given the Imps an exciting look for the season and if manager Gary Simpson can consistently produce the form which saw the Imps win five of their final eight games of the 12/13 season then there’s no reason why Lincoln can’t be challenging for the play-off places come the end of the season.
And what of Lincoln’s opening day opponents? Managed by former Dagenham and Redbridge boss Garry Hill, it has been a summer of relative stability for Woking FC. Just two new players have been brought in by Hill, most notably former Yeovil midfielder Gavin Williams, a twice capped Wales international with over 250 football league appearances to his name.
It has been an encouraging pre-season on the pitch for the Cardinals, as they registered four wins out of six, including a promising home win against newly promoted Championship side Bournemouth. The part-timers will be looking to build on last season’s 12th place finish, and will be looking to continue their good run of form against the Imps having taken four points off them last season, including a 2-0 win at the Bank.
The game kicks off at 3pm on Saturday 10th August at Kingfield Stadium, Woking.Tweet