On Tuesday, February 9th, Lincoln City will go in search of a much needed victory against bottom league outfit Darlington as they look to break their three match losing streak.
City however will still be without the defensive pair of Nathan Baker and Adam Watts who are still recovering from respective ankle and hamstring injuries. On-loan Aston Villa midfielder Chris Herd, who played the first half in the 2-1 defeat away to Chesterfield, will be subjected to a late fitness test that will decide whether he plays this evening.
It is expected that manager Chris Sutton may change the side that lost away to Chesterfield on Saturday. However with such a limited number of players to choose from it is difficult to see where a change of thought will be implemented. Regardless of the defensive limitations Sutton and his side currently have there are different areas of the squad that can be altered.
Recent arrival, on loan from Rangers, Steven Lennon is expected to start up front for City and make his full debut after only coming off the bench on Saturday at Saltergate. It is predicted he will be joined in attack by Delroy Facey who played 80 minutes against the Spireites before being substituted for Paul Connor.
Lincoln are currently 20th in League Two, eight points above local rivals Grimsby and 14 points above tonight’s opponents Darlington who are favourites for relegation at the bottom of the football league.
Yet Darlington cease to become pushovers especially after their 2-0 victory against playoff hopefuls Rotherham United last Saturday. The Quakers have diced with death consistently this season but will be hoping the win at the Don Valley Stadium will encourage a period of good results as they attempt to mount a relegation survival.
Influential midfielder Jeff Smith is likely to recover from a dead leg he picked up in the win against the Millers and play in tonight’s fixture. Journeyman Noel Whelan is amongst the Darlington players who are set to miss the game this evening. As well as Whelan who is out with a hamstring injury, both defensive midfielder Chris Lumsdon and centre back Mark Bower will also miss the relegation scrap as they still have separate knee and ankle problems.
With the season now well past the halfway mark the outcome of the game could well further Lincoln’s decline or Darlington’s desperation. City are no doubt favourites to win the fixture this evening. But the newly-installed confidence the Darlington team will have gained from the three points acquired against Rotherham could prevent the Imps from recording a crucial three points as they fall closer to the drop.