Date: 24th December 2005 at 6:02pm
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It’s the battle of Lincolnshire on Boxing Day when the Pilgrims come north up the A15 to Sincil Bank. Both sides are hovering outside the play-off spots and a win for either side will give them a great start to their hectic Christmas schedules.

And for Lee Beevers, Richard Logan, Jason Lee and Ben Futcher, the game has added meaning with both players set to face their previous employers – Beevers and Logan for the Imps, and Lee and Futcher for Boston.

Get set for what will undoubtedly be a bumpy ride.

Vital Quotes:

Keith Alexander (Lincoln manager)

‘The games are usually tight affairs because nobody wants to lose any local pride. I don’t anticipate this one being any different.’

Steve Evans (Boston manager)

‘Victory would be the ideal start to a hectic festive period and would take us to the fringes of the top seven.’

Lincoln City Team News:

Midfielders Dean Keates and Scott Kerr are both suspended for City. Skippe Paul Morgan is doubtful with an ankle injury, but is expected to play.

The absence of Kerr and Keates could see boss Keith Alexander change formation, with a 5-2-3 the most likely, with Nat Brown being partnered by Colin Cryan in the centre of the park, if Morgan is fit.

Morgan will then slot into a defensive trio with Jamie McCombe and Gareth McAuley, with Paul Mayo and Lee Beevers occupying the wing-back slots.

Up front, Alexander is expected to keep faith with Derek Asamoah, Gary Birch and Richard Logan, as new signing Simon Yeo cannot make his debut until the transfer window re-opens on January 1.

Player to watch: Richard Logan

The on-loan forward has scored two in two games and will be wanting to impress again, not only as he comes face-to-face with his former club Boston, but also as he is striving to earn himself a permanent deal with the Imps. And with Simon Yeo back at the Bank it will also be his job to perform well so that he isn’t the one to make way for the returning hero.

Boston Utd Team News:

Loan striker Francis Green is ineligible for Boston against his parent club, while goalkeeper Chris Wright and full-back Lee Canoville are bouth doubtful for the Pilgrims.

Former Arsenal trainee Wright is struggling with a hamstring strain, while loan keeper Michel Kuipers has returned to Brighton, so emergency signing Conrad Logan – from Leicester City – may be thrust into action for an early derby, while Canoville has a calf strain.

Defender Ben Futcher may have to be content with a place on the bench against his former club.

Player to watch: Julian Joachim

The former Premiership star has proved a class act for Boston this term and has already plundered more than 10 goals this season. The Imps will have to keep a close eye on him if they are to beat their county rivals once again.

Match Facts & Stats

Last six matches:

Lincoln – LLDDWW

Boston – LWLDDd

Top scorers (all competitions):

Lincoln – Gary Birch 8

Boston – Julian Joachim 10

Match Prediction:

Of the two sides, Lincoln are the form side having gone four games unbeaten, while Boston have only won one game in their last seven.

The Imps also have the Indian sign over their local rivals having only lost once to them since Boston made the step up to the Football League, so the wise money will be on Keith Alexander’s men at 11/10 with bet365.

The one big question mark over City, though, is the lack of their midfield duo of Scott Kerr and Dean Keates – they will take some replacing. But saying that, Boston may have a rookie keeper in goal and for that reason I’m going for a 2-0 win to Lincoln.

Next Fixtures:

Next match:

Lincoln – Dec 28: Grimsby (a)

Boston – Dec 28: Carlisle (h)