Lincoln United Matt Cotton

Lincoln United midfielder Matt Cotton believes that his side can finish in the top ten of the Pitching In Northern Premier League south east division. The Whites currently sit in ninth place in the league after taking 13 points from their opening seven games.

Cotton has been a major part of United’s success so far this season, scoring eight goals in all competitions before the season was suspended due to the second national lockdown.

Speaking about his impressive start, the midfielder said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better start: eight goals, chipped in with a few assists, so I’m very happy with the start I’ve made, but I think as a team we have started very well.

“Obviously, at the start of the year we had a new side and weren’t expected to do that well – I didn’t think we were going to do that well if I’m honest, I don’t think many people did.”

A summer of transition saw United boss Sam Wilkinson bring in an entirely new squad to embark on a new era for the club. An improvement on last season’s finish was the aim at the start of the season, and they are already exceeding that.

Ashby Avenue before the game. Photo: Aaron Mayhew

Cotton was one of the few players who returned to the club during the summer. The familiarity of Ashby Avenue and the chance to play with his friends is what helped sway his decision.

“Sam, the gaffer, was one of the reasons,” he said when asked about returning in the summer. “And then the other reasons were what he wanted; [he wanted] a young side, and I wanted to be one of the senior ones in the squad.

“I know I’m still not that old, but I feel old in our squad because we’ve got a lot of youngsters bar me, Kallum [Smith] and Harry [Millard], and Charlie Ward the skipper, the rest of them are all younger, so I wanted that.”

Cotton’s seven goals in the league so far this season – his other came in the 2-1 defeat to Stamford in the FA Trophy – has seen him place among the top scorers in the league. Holding the title of top scorer is something that the midfielder hopes to have achieved come the end of the season.

“Obviously you aim to be top of the pile, but I’m playing in midfield so it would be a tough ask, and there are all sorts of quality players in our league,” he said.

“I want to be up there with the top goalscorers in the league after the start that I’ve had.

“I probably wouldn’t have said that at the start of the season; I would have said I’d have liked to have got 15 goals, but I want to get more than that now.”

As a team, though, Cotton is keen to the expectations realistic: “We don’t expect to be play-offs, but we don’t also expect to be in the relegation battle. I think if we can just keep chipping out results and keep doing what we are doing I think we will be top ten.”