Michael Appleton took stock of a few areas of interest rather than pressing a keynote message, ahead of the Tranmere Rovers game on Saturday.
Burton Albion: Imps knew Burton were a side that wanted a lot of the ball with players like Quinn. It was a choice of pressing ‘them’ high or alternatively avoiding allowing them to play between ‘us’ (the lines) to counter that. For the first 15 mins. or so Imps got caught between the two measures and there was the realisation that was going to hurt ‘us’. Consequently, Imps played counter-attacking football, did it well and looked like scoring each time. It was pleasing to score a set-piece goal as it had been an irritant to MA (lack of goals from that source) as he had heard how good City were at set pieces prior to his arrival. With set-pieces, the delivery has to be spot on which Jorge Grant delivered, but that has to be backed up by an aggressive and savvy attack of the ball. Tyler Walker had deserved a rest going into the match although MA acknowledged that is not how the player would have viewed it. He explained that he had worked with a lot of young players over the years and could recognise the signs of fatigue so MA felt it was the right time. He was delighted with John Akinde’s performance. JA took the opportunity with both hands not just in terms of when he had possession but also how he broke up Burton’s play around the halfway line.
Tranmere Rovers: They are a side with a lot of experience in the middle of the park supplemented by pace up top. They have been noted to change formation to suit what they see the best match up against their opponents. It is wise to be wary of Tranmere as they have shown the ability to every now and again pull a performance out of the hat. That said it is an opportunity to put distance between Tranmere and other sides with back to back wins. To do so would also build momentum going into a run of fixtures versus difficult opponents. Imps want to start looking up the table. City will try to get on the front foot, start the game well and score that vital first goal – stats. suggest that when the first goal is scored a side avoids defeat about 75% of the time at most levels of football. MA would not be surprised to see the ground ‘rocking’ bearing in mind it has been 10 weeks since the last home game on a Saturday. MA stopped short of saying which ground when quipping he needed to be on his toes to ensure he correctly named the ground in the days ahead.
Will The Imps win, lose or draw against Tranmere Rovers?
Injuries: Jason Shackell will be ‘out’ approximately four weeks. Bossie will come into the side whilst not forgetting that max Melbourne is more than capable of doing a job at CH should anything happen to Bossie. MA clearly sees MM as a left-back first and foremost whereas the player sees himself as a CH but as he has good physicality in the role there will be no problems should he be called upon. Michael O’Connor is progressing but he still needs to see a specialist team next week to be precise about the nature of the injury before he returns to full first-team training. Even though MOC is physically and mentally in a good place there is no point in taking an unnecessary risk which could end up with another injury set back. MA ruefully commented that he is hopeful of avoiding any more injuries, particularly in defensive positions. There was no mention made of Lee Frecklington’s situation.
Miscellaneous: The appointment of a goalkeeping coach is imminent. There was no name confirmation but the deal is 99.9% done. MA does not personally know the individual but has come highly recommended by six or seven (trusted) sources. MA identifies the role as key bearing in mind the goalkeepers will usually spend up to an hour in isolation with the gk coach before joining the rest of the squad later in a training session.
Looking ahead MA expects the second half of the season to be a real tell as to how all teams are equipped for life in L1. It is not true to say there isn’t much of a gap between different leagues – in reality, there is, both in terms of finance and players. MA has been reading how clubs are in danger of going ‘bust’ in The Championship. The way forward is to be financially savvy and go about things correctly. That means buying players at the right time and age to enable a good return on investment. That is the best and most sensible model.
Michael Appleton ahead of Tranmere Rovers…
Zveřejnil(a) BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sport dne Čtvrtek 12. prosince 2019
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) December 12, 2019