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Match Previews


20 September 2013

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All you need to know and more ahead of the Imps' visit

WHO? Lincoln City, aka the Imps. Formed in 1884 they are just a year older in formation terms than the Hatters. Saturday’s visitors get their nickname from the legend of the Lincoln Imp. The pesky little fellow looks on devilishly from the centre of the club’s badge. 

HISTORY LESSON. It’s not often you get to use the word “imp” on an official website, so let’s use it a little more. Wikipedia informs us that according to a 14th-century legend, two mischievous creatures called imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. The two imps headed to Lincoln cathedral and smashed up the place but one was turned into stone by an angel where he remains…

LAST TIME HERE. Leaving Satan and imps to one side, let’s get back to football. The Imps were at Kenilworth Road as recently as April when the Town ran out comfortable 3-0 winners thanks to two goals from Dave Martin and one from Andre Gray. 

HEAD-2-HEAD. Last Friday the Town suffered their customary league defeat at Wrexham where they hold a less than impressive record (give or take a title-winning or Play-Off victory). Given Lincoln’s record in Bedfordshire, the Imps must already be dreading their trip to Kenilworth Road. The Hatters have beaten the Lincolnshire outfit 13 times in the 18 meetings here, with City winning just twice. You have to go back to April 1999 the last time Lincoln won at Kenilworth Road – and that victory was the Imps’ first in 99 years. In all matches, home and away, the Town are unbeaten in six matches.

IN CHARGE. Former Lincoln and Boston midfielder Gary Simpson took over at Sincil Bank in February 2013 following the departure of David Holdsworth. The Imps were in danger of being dragged into the relegation dogfight at the tail end of last term but Simpson guided the Imps to safety, finishing in 16th place.

PLAY-OFF HEARTBREAK. If you think we had in bad losing in the Play-Offs three seasons running (yes, sorry to bring it up), spare a thought for long-standing Imps fans. The Sincil Bank faithful witnessed not three but FIVE consecutive Play-Off failures in League 2 between 2003 and 2007, two of which came in the final.

DARK HORSES. Lincoln are many people’s outside tip to spring a surprise in the Skrill Premier this season and Simpson’s side have already shown their credentials in their opening nine games of campaign. The Imps earned a point at Barnet last Saturday with an equaliser with the very last kick of the game and then beat Southport 1-0 on Tuesday night. City have taken 17 points and have also beaten Wrexham and Forest Green and sit fourth in the table.

KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU. There might not be any current connections between the two squads, but names such as Terry Branston, Doug Rowe, David Carr, Steve Buckley and Janos Kovacs are players to have played for both clubs.

CONFERENCE WINNERS. Lincoln were the first club to be affected by automatic relegation from the Football League when they finished bottom of the old Division Four (now League 2) in 1986/87. However, the Imps bounced straight back and won the Conference at the first time of asking the following season. That season City only occupied top spot in the table once: crucially after a final-day-of-the-season over Wycombe Wanderers.

ROLL-UP, ROLL-UP. Tickets are available on the door on Saturday but it’s always best to buy in advance either in person at the ticket office or online. Click here for further details.

TOWN TEAM NEWS. Alex Lacey could return to the squad to face Lincoln City on Saturday. The centre-half was forced off at half-time with an ankle injury in the goalless draw with Grimsby Town two weeks ago but has resumed training full training this week. He will be assessed following Friday's training session before a decision is made.

John Still was pleased to report that defender Anthony Charles came through an hour of a development squad fixture against Oxford on Wednesday. The experienced defender is expected to be a week's training away from a full return following a shoulder injury.

Jon Shaw is making good progress following a hernia operation and Still explained the centre-forward is 10 days away from resuming training. Fellow striker Alex Wall serves the second match of a two-game ban for the visit of the Imps.

STILL SAYS: “Lincoln are a big, strong side, they’re going to be very competitive and I think they’ll get the ball forward quite quickly.

“Like all games, they’re tough – the games are tough at all levels now.

“Every game at every level is tough. Even in the top Champions League games, the so-called massive clubs don’t smash teams. Very rarely do these ‘big’ clubs smash teams, because teams are organised now at all levels.

“I don’t envisage anything other than a tough game on Saturday. Will it be tougher than last week? Probably not. Will it be tougher than next week? Probably not, because they’re all tough.”

LIVE & DIRECT. We’ll have all the news as it happens from Kenilworth Road. Pre-match build-up, team news, live text and audio commentary, a report, reaction, photographs and interviews. Remember to keep it, Hatters Player and check out our ever-growing Facebook and Twitter feeds. And keep an eye on our Instagram, Vine and YouTube accounts too for good measure #COYH.

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