Lincoln City face two massive games this week– starting off with the home fixture against Bournemouth on Saturday.
Depending on results elsewhere, a double whammy of defeats against the lofty Cherries and Tuesday’s opponents Notts County could plunge the Imps firmly back into the relegation picture.
The Linc suggested last month that Chris Sutton’s side were effectively safe, but two consecutive defeats have seen the club wobble at the start of a testing April.
Lincoln play three of the top seven in League Two in their next four games, but Sutton will be hoping the Imps regain the form they enjoyed in March — where they completed the month unbeaten.
The Imps’ task will be made more difficult on Saturday because of the absence of midfield dynamo Scott Kerr. The skipper was booked in last Saturday’s defeat to Cheltenham and, after missing the Easter Monday loss to Morecambe, will serve the second of a two match ban.
That means that Sutton is likely to continue with Shane Clarke and Clark Keltie in the centre of the park. Alternatively, he may decide to revert Chris Herd back to the midfield role that he is more accustomed to and bring Paul Connor into the starting eleven. Steven Lennon could challenge for a place up front if he has recovered from the groin strain which caused him to miss the game against the Shrimps.
Automatic promotion hopefuls Bournemouth stretched their advantage over 4th placed Rotherham on Monday with a gutsy 0-0 stalemate away at high-fliers Rochdale. The Cherries are holding their nerve in the promotion run-in with just one defeat in their last six, and have not conceded in their last three matches.
Manager Eddie Howe’s transformation of the club is winning him many admirers—Peterborough United attempted to lure the Football League’s youngest manager to London Road earlier in the season.
Encouragingly though for the Imps, Bournemouth have not won in their last five away games, albeit against teams in good form such as Dagenham and Rochdale.
The man that the Lincoln defence need to be wary of is the Cherries’ number nine Brett Pitman. Jersey-born Pitman has been in fantastic form this season, scoring 20 league goals and being one of the main reasons that Bournemouth have maintained their position in the automatic promotion places.
The Imps will be hoping for a better outcome on Saturday than the match on the south coast back in September, when a very different Lincoln team were comfortably beaten 3-1, with Sammy Igoe scoring a brace for the home team.