Lincoln City midfielder Shane Clarke has paid tribute to his former youth team manager John Schofield, as the one-time City boss returns to the visiting dugout on Saturday.

Schofield returns to Sincil Bank as caretaker manager of Cheltenham Town after the Robins’ manager, Martin Allen, was placed on gardening leave last month.

Schofield masterminded the Imps to thumping wins over Rochdale (7-1) and Barnet (5-0) in 2006-07 to go top of the league.

But a disastrous dip in form saw City defeated in the play-off semi-finals and Schofield was sacked after a poor start to the following season.

“John was influential to me — he gave me two professional contracts and was my manager in the youth team,” said Clarke.

“He’s a very good coach and a great character around the dressing room, he’s very enthusiastic.

“I saw him the other week at the Lincoln United game in the FA Cup and had a little chat with him then. I’ll say hello before the match on Saturday.”

Clarke is one of few players to have kept his place in the team since Chris Sutton took the reins at Sincil Bank, and is relishing his opportunities in the starting XI.

“Since the new gaffer has come in I’ve managed to play every game and obviously I’m happy with that.

“I feel confident at the minute and [Sutton] has encouraged me to get forward and arrive late in the box, which suits me down to a tee.”