Lincoln City kick off their season’s home fixtures this Saturday with a fixture against Swindon Town, one of last season’s early pacesetters in League Two but who tailed off once David Flitcroft left for Mansfield Town following Steve Evans’ departure from Field Mill to London Road, Peterborough, to finish 9th in the table on 68 points, seven behind the Imps. This season, they started with a home game against newly-promoted Macclesfield Town and looked to be heading to defeat as they were 1-2 down going into added time but were then awarded two penalties, each converted by Doughty (who also scored the first goal) to take the full three points. We thought we had done a smash-and-grab job at Northampton, well the Swindon result probably tops that!
On Tuesday night, they also played at home in the Checkatrade Trophy to Chelsea U21s (who the Imps beat in last season’s semi-final) and were soundly beaten by four goals to nil by the young starlets. It must be said, however, that Town manager Phil Brown did make seven changes from the side that beat Macclesfield, but it also shows that they may well be susceptible in defence, six goals scored against them in just two games.
Last season saw the Imps come away from the County Ground with a very creditable 0-1 win in October and then in February, the reverse fixture gave us four goals in an entertaining 2-2 draw. Lee Frecklington converted a penalty in the 23rd minute to give the Imps the lead but then saw the ten men of Swindon score twice in three minutes (35th and 38th) to go in 1-2 up at half-time. Great pressure by the Imps in the second half finally broke the Robins’ defence in the very last minute as Michael Bostwick poked home in a goalmouth scramble to give the Imps a share of the points in front of 8,909 fans (555 from Swindon).
Moving on to our possible line-up, well there’s going to be at least one change because Luke Waterfall has decided to take up Shrewsbury Town’s offer of a three-year contract; good luck to him I say but who will be the beneficiary of the ‘Magic Hat’ song in the weeks and months to come? At the time of writing, there are no reports of a possible replacement coming in but that could well change by Saturday. Adam Crookes signed recently from Nottingham Forest on a season-long loan, but he is a left-sided defender (like Scott Wharton) who also plays in midfield; he was also on the bench at Sixfields. Maybe Bostwick will drop back into defence with Crookes (or, more likely Michael O’Connor) in midfield? I don’t think Danny Cowley will tinker much with the rest of the team, but it will be interesting to see if he continues with the three-at-the-back experiment. We have three options therefore; 3-5-2 with Bozzie at the back alongside Wilson and Wharton and O’Connor in midfield; 4-3-3 with Bozzie staying in midfield alongside Frecklington and McCartan with (maybe) Andrade slotting in alongside the front pairing of Green and Akinde or; 4-4-2 thus:
Eardley – Wilson – Wharton – Toffolo
Anderson – Bostwick – Frecklington – McCartan
Green – Akinde
Either way, the Imps have a very good opportunity to make it six points out of six come 5pm Saturday which would be a dream start to our season with the mouth-watering prospect of a little local derby to come next week! That game, of course, follows the away game at Port Vale in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
The referee for Saturday’s game is Michael Salisbury.
Prediction: Lincoln City 2 Swindon Town 0 with around 9,200 in attendance.
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City Football Club for the photographs!
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) August 9, 2018