Six games in and City sit proudly atop Sky Bet League Two Two having accumulated five wins and one draw so far. As the fixtures were announced, I, along with probably most Imps fans, wondered if we could have been handed a more difficult start to the season; two games against teams that were relegated, two games against teams who reached the League Two Play-Offs last time around, a derby game at Grimsby and a difficult-looking fixture Vs Swindon. Well, that theory was soon blown out of the water as we go into game number seven a deserved three points clear of second-placed Newport, four ahead of MK Dons and an amazing five points clear of Colchester in fourth. We are very close to our best ever start to a season.
Crawley sit just below mid-table with seven points from their six games. Away from home, they won 0-1 at Cheltenham on the opening day but lost 1-0 at Port Vale and 2-1 at Oldham. Add to that the fact that manager Harry Kewell has left the club to take the vacant manager’s position at Notts County following the dismissal of Kevin Nolan and Saturday’s game sees players Jimmy Smith and Filipe Morais in charge temporarily. It can’t have gone unnoticed that since his move to Crawley in the summer, Ollie Palmer has so far scored five of Crawley’s eight goals to be the joint second-top scorer in League Two, one behind Tranmere Rovers’ James Norwood and one ahead of our own John Akinde.
With the notable exceptions of Michael Bostwick, Harry Toffolo and Harry Anderson, the side Danny Cowley put out on Tuesday in the EFL Trophy game against Mansfield Town was pretty much our ‘second string’ although it must be emphasised that we have a very capable squad and everyone within it needs valuable time on the pitch. I fully expect those changes to be reversed on Saturday although that does rather depend on whether Tom Pett has shrugged off his injury. If not, I expect Shay McCartan to take his place.
Cup matches aside, I feel that the Imps are improving with every game, in all departments. Saturday’s stunning display and subsequent clear victory against the side which knocked us out of the Play-Offs last May proves my point and it is only a matter of time before some team takes a real hiding. That could be Crawley or, maybe more likely, Macclesfield away next week. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could go into the MK Dons game on 22 points!
This will be just the third game we will have played against each other with Crawley taking the upper hand following a 0-0 draw at Sincil Bank last October followed by a 3-1 home win in February. They have been allocated a mere 193 tickets for the game whereas last season, they brought 137. The impressive start to the season, and the fact that the holiday period is now over, should see a rise in home support and I fully expect to see in excess of 8,500 at Sincil Bank on Saturday. The referee for the game is…?
My prediction: Another excellent attacking performance with maybe a consolation goal for Palmer! Lincoln City 4 Crawley Town 1.
Next up: Macclesfield Town (away).
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City Football Club for the photographs!
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) September 7, 2018