Saturday 04 August 2018 sees the Imps return to Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium for the first time since 03 January 2011 when we lost 2-1 in what turned out to be our last season in the Football League until the Cowleys arrived! Interestingly, that was only our second game since the FA Cup Second Round draw at Hereford Utd. on 27 November 2010 caused by a very snowy December. We were fresh off a 1-2 home defeat to Bradford City on New Year’s Day and this Holiday Monday defeat was witnessed by some 4,112 fans who saw goals from Mckay (Northampton 64th minute) followed by a Josh O’Keefe equaliser (75th minute) only for Cobblers fans to have the last laugh as Johnson came up with a late winner (88th minute) to send us home empty-handed. You have to go back to 03 October 1992 for the last Imps victory at Sixfields which has been followed by 6 draws and 5 defeats.
As this will be our first competitive match of the new season, it will be fascinating to discover what team and which formation Danny Cowley will send out and set up. I was interested to see the formation for the Scunthorpe game where three centre-backs were used with two wing backs which reminded me of how England set up at the recent World Cup in Russia. I recall how Keith Alexander was also fond of this formation and did very well with it.
I fully expect Josh Vickers to start in goal and I’d be happy with James Wilson, Luke Waterfall and Scott Wharton at the back, supported by Neal Eardley and Harry Toffolo. It was heartening to see Michael Bostwick get some game time in yesterday’s 2-0 win against Derby U23s, but where will he play? I mean, he would be the first name on my Imps team sheet without a doubt! If Danny decides to go with wing-backs, he’d need three midfielders from Bostwick, Lee Frecklington, Ellis Chapman, Michael O’Connor, Harry Anderson and Bruno Andrade, especially if he’s going for two up top. I suggest he wouldn’t have Bostwick, Frecklington and O’Connor together in midfield so maybe, James Wilson could be the one to miss out with Bostwick playing at the back, alleviating Danny’s midfield headache a little.
Up front, we have an amazing choice in Tom Pett, Matt Rhead, Matt Green, Shay McCartan and John Akinde; another headache for Danny Cowley? I can’t see Rheady starting and would suggest we’ll probably go with Green and Akinde. We may yet sign Joan Luque to add to the forward list.
I’ll put my neck on the line and suggest this starting eleven:
Bostwick – Waterfall – Wharton
Eardley – O’Connor – Frecklington – Andrade – Toffolo
Green – Akinde
Subs: Smith, Wilson, Anderson, Rhead, Pett, McCartan and Chapman.
The referee for Saturday’s game is Lee Swabey.
A very healthy away following of just under 1,500 is expected, although I reckon there will be a number sat amongst the home supporters, too.
A solid display resulting in a final scoreline of 1-1 is on the cards, although I would not be surprised to see the Imps pinch all three points, such is the strength and depth of the team.
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) August 2, 2018