Lincoln City

Michael Appleton believes that the visit of Portsmouth to the LNER Stadium offers the chance for some players to stake a claim in his starting line-up.

Injuries to several of his squad means that the Imps boss could make several changes to his starting line-up on Tuesday night.

However, Appleton is hoping that some of the younger players in his squad will take it as an opportunity to impress him.

Looking Ahead to Portsmouth

After Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers, the Imps will be hoping to bounce back against Portsmouth at the LNER Stadium on Tuesday night. However, Appleton is expecting another tough game.

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton. Photo: Aaron Mayhew

“I think one thing is for sure with any team Kenny Jackett manages and puts out is that you have got a very tough game.

“I thought we played quite well in both games last season, especially down at Portsmouth. To come away with nothing was really frustrating, but that’s the type of team and performance Kenny can produce; they are well-structured, well-organised, hard to beat and frustrating at times.”


City have several players out with injuries currently. Max Melbourne, Callum Morton, Joe Walsh and Liam Bridcutt are all unavailable through injury.

While the gruelling schedule has become a cause for concern for Michael Appleton, the Imps boss was keen to look at the positives.

He said: “We’ve got a few [injuries] if I’m being honest. I’m a little bit concerned numbers-wise going into the game tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a little bit fun and games this morning with the players trying to roll them out ready for Tuesday. But if we can’t then it is going to be an opportunity for some of the younger players in the squad to stake a claim and be in the team going forward.”

However, while there are several members of the squad missing, Appleton is hoping that some of them are close to a return.

“Max trained on Friday and Thursday, so he’s trained for a couple of days, but he’s obviously been off for well over a month now so he may be another week or so from being involved,” the Imps boss said.

Second National Lockdown

Boris Johnson announced on Saturday evening that a second, national lockdown will commence in England on Thursday due to a rise in Coronavirus cases. Although the country is heading into lockdown, elite sport will continue.

Speaking about the second lockdown, the Imps boss said: “Touch wood, luckily, we have had no cases. And long may that continue.

“That’s going to be the same thing for most clubs going forward, to try and eliminate games being called off because it is a condensed season already.

“We’ve been okay so far and hopefully that can continue going forward so we can get games played.”

Currently, despite cases rising and a number of EFL clubs seeing games postponed, there is no testing regime in place. While several managers in the league have been critical of the protocols, Appleton is keen to let football do the talking.

“In terms of guidelines, it is one of them where we could spend three days talking about this and I’d rather us talk about the football side of it,” said the City manager.

“All we can do is make sure we keep the players as safe as we possibly can.”