Lincoln City head coach Michael Skubala at press conference

Lincoln City head coach Michael Skubala is in no doubt that his side’s trip to Cheltenham Town will be a difficult game.

The Imps need a win to keep their play-off hopes alive, as they continue to chase down Oxford United and Barnsley. They sit two points behind the U’s at kick-off, knowing their fate lies in the hands of the teams above them.

Skubala expecting a “ding-dong affair”:

Speaking to The Linc, he said: “It’s a tough game, it’s a really tough game. It’s a really tough opposition, they’re fighting for their lives, which means they’re going to scrap for every little bit in the game. In some regards, it’s a bit of pressure for them. We’ve got to try and get the three points, it will be an edgy game.”

Cheltenham sit two points below the dreaded red line, but have a game in hand on currently-safe Burton Albion. The Robins beat their relegation rivals 2-1 in midweek, recording their first win in five games.

“I can’t see it being a nice game of football, I think it’s going to be a real ding-dong affair. We just need to ready to mix it, but play when it settles. We’re in no doubt that this is going to be a tough game for us,” he added.

Oxford host Stevenage on Friday night, looking to bounce back from their defeat at the hands of City. Steve Evans opted to leave Hertfordshire for a return to former club Rotherham United, so stand-in Alex Revell will take the reins at the Kassam Stadium.

Lincoln’s Skubala said: “In some ways, we’ve got nothing to lose. We know it’s still in Oxford’s hands, so we just have to try and get the three points, On the Friday night, hopefully Stevenage can do us a favour. But, we’ve just got to go and get three points and try and take it into the last game, when everyone will be under pressure.”

Golden glove contender:

Lukas Jensen recorded a 19th clean sheet of the SkyBet League One season on Tuesday, shutting out an Oxford side that put 13 goals in their oppositions’ net across the prior three games.

Skubala praised his man between the sticks, saying: “He’s been immense. We want him to keep being immense, but he’s been immense at so much of the little stuff that people don’t realise, like coming for crosses, taking it out the air when it looks dangerous.”

The Dane has 21 clean sheets across all competitions, including a shut-out against Premier League-side Sheffield United in the EFL Cup.

“It’s little things in his game that are brilliant. And, he keeps improving all the time. We know there’s stuff to work on, and he’s getting better at those things, but he’s been immense.”

However, Skubala was keen to note that the clean sheet record is a reflection on a team who impress with their defensive security.

He said: “I think it’s credit to everyone, the clean sheets, because you score goals as a team and you don’t concede goals as a team. That’s what has been really good for us at the moment.”

“It’s a huge team effort, just like when Joe Taylor scores goals and gets player of the month. We’ve got to give him the ball to score goals, we’ve got to work hard for him to score goals. For me, they are individual accolades, but they’re more about the team,” the Imps boss added.

Bad news on the injury front:

The positive result on Tuesday night was dampened by Reeco Hackett’s injury. The wing-back was replaced early-on by Dylan Duffy, who later picked up two yellow cards.

Speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Skubala said: “[Reeco] went straight to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. It’s one of those injuries where it could be really bad and season over…or it might be something we can manage until the end of the season.”

The Lincoln gaffer added that Hackett will not be available on Saturday, but could be back for the visit of his former side Portsmouth on the final day of the season.

Skubala, speaking to The Linc, described midfielder Ted Bishop as “touch and go” ahead of the trip to Cheltenham, with a waiting game being played ahead of a scan tomorrow (Friday, April 19).