Lincoln City head coach Michael Skubala at press conference

Lincoln City‘s head coach Michael Skubala looks ahead to what could prove to be a memorable game for the Imps.

Lincoln shot from mid-table mediocrity at the turn of the year, to being on the cusp of securing a play-off spot with one game left to play. Two of City, Barnsley, Oxford United and Blackpool will make it into the SkyBet League One play-offs, with them fighting it out on the final day of the season.

Speaking to¬†The Linc, Skubala said: “We’re really confident, we know we have to be respectful, but I say to the players all the time, ‘Respect everybody, but we fear nobody’. I think that is really important to say because when we are on it, and we are playing well, and we are being ourselves, we can beat anybody in this league.”

“We’re respectful of their quality, and really respectful of the job they’ve done in consistency of the season, which for me they are a standout. But, I think we can hurt them, we’re trying to manage it so we can go after their weaknesses as well.

“So are going to have to be good, we have to be on it, there’s no doubt about that, but I think if we are good on the day, we can win the game.”

Portsmouth not ‘on the beach’:

The City gaffer rejected the idea that already crowned champions Portsmouth could be ‘on the beach’ for their trip to the LNER Stadium.

He said: “When there is no pressure on teams, sometimes it can help them, but other times you don’t know. I think it’s one of those situations where none of us really know how an individual reacts, or a team reacts, all you know is that they are a good team with good players. If they want to turn it on, they’re going to cause us some issues that we have to be ready for.”

Pompey’s defeat to Wigan Athletic last weekend meant they can no longer reach the 100 point mark this season, after securing their return to the Championship earlier in April.

Injuries and suspensions latest:

Former Portsmouth man Reeco Hackett has been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder since the 1-0 win at Oxford United. There was a hope that the St. Lucian international could have made it back in time to face his former team.

However, speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Skubala confirmed: “Reeco is not going to make it, he’s not going to make this one. We’ve got a few more assessments to make, but unfortunately Reeco could be done for the season. But, we’ll have to see on that.”

Midfielder Ted Bishop remains “touch and go” for Pompey’s visit, the Lincoln City boss told BBC journalist Michael Hortin.

Although, he teased some positive news, saying: “We might have one player back, but we are assessing that one. So, we’ll see.”

The former Leeds United under-21s boss kept his cards close to his chest on who the mystery man could be, so Imps fans will have to wait until the line-ups are announced at 11:30am on Saturday to potentially find out.

In more good news for Lincoln, Irish winger Dylan Duffy will return from the suspension that kept his out of the comeback 2-1 win at Cheltenham Town.

Skubala said: “Dylan is back. He is back into the group, he trained really well today and it’s good because he gives us that option if we think it is right. But, also if not, we think he’s good to come back into the bench and strengthen us again.”

Skubala on “amazing run”:

Lincoln have lost just once in their last 19 games, a run that consisted of 16 unbeaten games before Wigan visited Lincolnshire.

Skubala said: “It’s been an amazing run, we don’t want it to end now that’s for sure. But, I think if you look back at the run, the lads have put everything into the run. And when you start looking at the injuries that we have had and the personnel we have been missing, it starts to look even better.

“We don’t want it to end now, we want to get into that play-off place and push again. They’re really focused, they’re not really thinking about that 19 games with one loss, they’re thinking about the next game and winning that. That’s all we’re concentrating on.”

Since their first home defeat of 2024, and their first defeat since New Year’s Day, Lincoln have secured back to back wins.

Skubala said: “That’s one of the really proud things. I think when you go on a really big run and then loose a game, everything thinks that means you’re going to lose the next game. But, when you come back and win two, it shows you where your levels are at.

“I keep saying to them, ‘This isn’t a run, this is us now’, and when you go and lose a game, which you will lose games in seasons or in runs, how you bounce back and get two more wins shows your actual level. So, I was really pleased and happy with that.”

Would the season be a success if Lincoln fail to make the play-offs?

Michael Skubala thinks so. When asked that question by The Linc, he said: “I think success, yes. A success in what we’ve done and what we’ve built, it would be successful. But, it would have a dampener on it because I think we’re so close. There’s no doubt in my mind that we want to get there.”

The Imps have kept themselves in the fight, and have their fate in their own hands on the final day of the regular season. They know a win would almost certainly guarantee a place in the play-offs.

The Imps boss added: “It won’t feel like [a success] on the day for anyone [if they miss out], because we’ve come so close, but if you were to reflect on the second-half of this season, you would see it as a good second-half.”


Follow LincSport on Twitter/X for live coverage of the game at 12:30pm on Saturday, April 27.