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Town Out to End Another Winless Run at Lincoln
Friday, 27th Dec 2019 17:05

Town visit Lincoln City on Sunday looking to end their run of six League One games to an end, having finally brought their 15-match winless FA Cup streak to a close at Sincil Bank via a last-gasp Alan Judge goal just over a month ago.

Town moved back to second in the table - six points behind leaders Wycombe who they travel to face on New Year’s Day - as a result of their 0-0 Boxing Day draw with Gillingham, but have taken only 10 points from their last 10 League One matches. Their last league win was at Rochdale on November 5th.

In all competitions, the FA Cup win at Sincil Bank is the Blues’ only victory over 90 minutes in their last 12 fixtures.

Boss Paul Lambert believes that match will have little bearing on Sunday's match.

“No, it’s a totally different game,” Lambert said. “You’re going to have to earn the right to win the game. It’s going to be a hard game but the lads are more than capable of going there and winning it.”

He added: “They’re all hard, every game’s hard. We go there and we go and try and win. We try and ensure the team will go there and give it everything they’ve got as normal.

“We’ll take a big crowd there again. A tough, tough game. We’re a big scalp for everybody and that will be no different to what it was in the FA Cup.

“It’s not going to be any different but the guys will go up there I’m pretty sure will get after it and will give it a right good go.”

Asked whether midfielder Flynn Downes, left on the bench throughout the draw with Gillingham, would return to the XI, Lambert confirmed that the 20-year-old was rested and said: “He might, we’ve got a game on Sunday and then Wednesday, so we’ve got four games [in 10 days].

“But the team is strong, Luke [Chambers] will be back from suspension, the squad’s in a good position.”

Lambert may opt to swap his keepers again with Tomas Holy coming in for Will Norris, who has started the last two matches.

At the back, the Blues boss could look to return to a three-man backline with Chambers joining Luke Woolfenden and James Wilson with Toto Nsiala perhaps less likely to start having played the full 90 minutes on Thursday having only recently returned from his spell on the sidelines with injury.

Luke Garbutt and Janoi Donacien are likely to continue as the wing-backs, although Myles Kenlock may be hoping for some involvement during the Christmas fixtures on the left.

In midfield, Lambert could rest Cole Skuse with Downes and Andre Dozzell perhaps returning to the XI. Alan Judge could move to the central role ahead of them, while Emyr Huws is yet to feature in the holiday fixtures.

Up front, Will Keane could partner Kayden Jackson with James Norwood having played the full 90 minutes of the last two matches. Freddie Sears is likely to join him on the bench looking to get further first-team minutes under his belt.

Lincoln go into the match having lost their previous two games 1-0 away, Oxford having followed Coventry in beating the Imps by that scoreline.

Michael Appleton’s men, who are 17th in the table, have a decent League One home record of won five - including their last Sincil Bank fixture, a 1-0 success over Tranmere a fortnight ago - drawn one and lost two.

Appleton believes having faced Town twice already this season in the FA Cup will benefit his team.

“The fact we’ve played Ipswich on a couple of occasions will help in some ways,” Appleton told Lincolnshire Live.

“They made a lot of changes in the two games. Having said that, there was still some quality on show from their point of view.

“From our performance point of view, the chances we created, it was very good. I’m sure the players will take a lot from that.”

He added: “Their squad and the budget reflects on the fact they came down from the Championship last season.

“They’ve got two of the best strikers in the league. On their day, they can cause problems to anybody.

“That makes them very, very dangerous. It’s going to be a tough game, but overall we’ve been good at home since I’ve come in.

"Hopefully, with a big crowd getting behind the players, we can get the right result.”

The teams last met just over a month ago in the FA Cup first-round replay at Sincil Bank which the Blues won 1-0.

Judge’s first Town goal deep in injury time ended the Blues’ 15-match winless run in the tournament and avenged the defeat to the Imps in the same competition in January 2017. The tie appeared destined for extra-time when Judge swept home at the far post.

Ten days previously, the sides played out a 1-1 draw at Portman Road in the initial tie. Tyler Walker put the visitors ahead on 37 and, after the Imps goalscorer had seen a second-half penalty saved by Norris, Dozzell curled home an equaliser 79th minute.

Overall, Town have the edge historically having won six games between the teams (five in the league) with four (two) ending in draws and four (three) won by the Imps.

If he is involved, Blues defender Wilson will face his old club - the defender recently spoke about his time with the Imps - while Jordan Roberts and the currently-injured Danny Rowe are previous Imps loanees.

Town midfielder Jon Nolan was with Lincoln between June 2013 and January 2016, making 64 starts and 11 sub appearances.

Ex-Town loanee Callum Connolly is currently on loan at Lincoln from Everton, while the Imps’ Wales international midfielder Joe Morrell, who is on loan from Bristol City, was born in Ipswich.

Sunday’s referee is James Oldham from Derbyshire, who has shown 50 yellow cards and three red in 15 games so far this season and will be taking charge of his first ever Town match.

One of Oldham’s assistants will be Colchester-based official Aaron Farmer, who was the linesman whose advice led to referee Alan Young controversially disallowing Town’s goal in the recent home game against Wycombe.

Farmer was also the referee for the U23s’ pre-season friendly at Coggeshall in July when he refused to officiate for the final 30 minutes of a game of three thirds as the teams were planning to rotate their players using roll-on, roll-off subs.

Squad from: Norris, Holy, Donacien, Garbutt, Kenlock, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Nsiala, Skuse, Dozzell, Downes, Huws, Nolan, Judge, Edwards, Dobra, Jackson, Keane, Norwood, Sears.

Photo: Action Images

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Umros added 17:28 - Dec 27
The Inept Colchester based official is already of concern!

jas0999 added 17:30 - Dec 27
With our dire win rate at PR, we need to win.

Cloddyseedbed added 18:40 - Dec 27
Get Holy back in goal, he's ours. Drop Edwards, he's a waste of space. If Huws isn't ready for a football match after all this time terminate his contract. Get Kenlock in a left back and tell him to concentrate for 90+ minutes defending and just defend, let Garbutt be the attacking force down the left. Wilson and Wolfie in the middle at the back. Persist with Donacien as no viable alternatives. I'm lost for who to put on the right attacking because nobody seems to be able to or want to do it. They are either injured or can't be ar*ed. Downes must play in the middle with either Nolan or Dozzell, that would depend on if Dozzell is awake or still half asleep. Norwood and Jackson up front. Tell Georgio he may as well go back now as he's only been here for a rest and Edwards may as well go and live with him, they have similar mindsets. As for the manager, I so wanted him here, i thought it was a perfect fit for both parties but his latest outburst needs to be addressed as it causes more concern at the club both with players and supporters. Any employee that is not happy or disruptive needs to move on. As for the owner, well all the managers we have had and leave share the same thoughts. It's a hell of a job working for a scrooge! Future for ITFC.....very, very uncertain. 3rd tier of English football and 100 million in debt to scrooge.

ringwoodblue added 18:43 - Dec 27
After the Lincoln and Wycombe games we could, at best, be top of the league or at worst out of the playoffs. Let’s hope the Sky TV curse doesn’t strike again!

Zondervantheman added 18:50 - Dec 27
For his own sake please don’t play toepoke Nsiala. He is just not up to this standard.
I understand these are desperate times but I would rather put one of the youth team than play Toepoke again the titanic could turn quicker than him.
I also think that Dozzell needs 3 successive games to prove his worth as he can pick a pass and unlock a defence which we so desperately could not do against Gillingham.

DifferentGravy added 18:51 - Dec 27
Let me be clear, i honestly believe we have a team capable of promotion. But i strongly feel that the cohesion and confidence have been drained by excessive rotation for absolutely no need at all. Since when were professional footballers incapable of playing two games in a week? Most of these players have barely played 5 games in a month! The negative impact it has had on the team far outweighs any alleged fatigue. The results are proof of this and, whilst players need to be accountable for their own individual drive(guts as some would put it) and performance, there is only one person responsible for the constant upheaval

Personally, with KVY injured i prefer 4-4-2 with - Donacien, Wilson, Woolfy, Garbutt, Nolan, Huws, Downes, Georgiou, Norwood, Jackson - Subs - Dozzell, Sears, Keane, Skuse, Chambers...............Or a mix of this but Woolfy, Garbutt, Downes, Norwood, Jackson should all start(Sears building match fitness)

Im not interested in seeing Nsalia, Toto, Kenlock anywhere near the squad. But i sense he will start with Keane, Kenlock and Edwards.....and we will get shown up yet again. Ive lost all faith in Lambert. I find his decision making baffling and frustrating.


Mark added 19:01 - Dec 27
We really need to see the benefits of squad rotation now, with thick and fast Christmas fixtures. We should be fresher than our opponents and should take maximum points. No excuses.

As for the goalkeeper, stick to one! I would chose Holy. A goalkeeper does not need a rest.

dirtydingusmagee added 19:18 - Dec 27
Cloddy ,youve got the job !

Blueballs83 added 19:20 - Dec 27
For Lambert not to know his best starting 11 or even formation is criminal after the amount of time he has had with these players. Over the last 4 games we have mustered only a handful of shots and although I have doubts over Jackson, Norwood has proven over the last few seasons, he can score. A lack of good service is the main issue and not playing with creative midfielders is causing this. We don’t have good enough wingers to play 442, so playing 433 with Dozzell or Huws are only creative players in a partnership with Downes and one other could provide the strikers with service they need!

dirtydingusmagee added 19:22 - Dec 27
am i not looking forward to the next three games.......nope im really not .

dirtydingusmagee added 19:27 - Dec 27
we desperately need to get some points in January , February is looking scary with current form .

Vanisleblue2 added 19:28 - Dec 27
Wise words and agreed from me

Vanisleblue2 added 19:33 - Dec 27
Holy, Donacien, Garbutt, Woolfie, Chambers, Wilson, Huws, Downes, Judge, Norwood Jackson
Sears, Keane, Dobra, Norris, El Mizouni, Skuse, Dozzell

Cloddyseedbed added 20:16 - Dec 27
Just remembered Dobra. Great little fearless player on the right who takes the game to the opposition and draws a foul. Bung him in on the right. He gets stuck in and wants to play.

Saxonblue74 added 20:26 - Dec 27
More chance of winning the lottery than guessing our starting line up!

RegencyBlue added 21:37 - Dec 27
Continue our current form and I don’t see us getting top six never mind top two. If we can turn it around though we can still do it.

Don’t play Nsiala though, under any circumstances!


herfie added 21:45 - Dec 27
Because of PL’s rotation policy from early doors, this match will reap no benefits of the continuity/understanding/partnerships that most other teams in this league clearly to benefit from. Arguably, as Steve Evans alluded to, we have a strong, quality, squad; but we don’t have a cohesive team, able to impose itself upon physical, well organised, opposition. Perhaps not as technically gifted as some of our players, but ultimately more effective. I suspect that it’s having to admit that, due to his decisions, this is where find ourselves, accounts partly for PL’s post match comments.

Ultimately, however, whilst all the off-field mood music, the acres of words and media stuff will always exist, come the day it’s only those wearing the shirts who determine success or failure. At present the level of performances most are putting in are at best average - some below that for this level. Systems, formations, rotation can easily become the excuses for mediocrity; but this so called strong, quality, squad needs to stop believing the hype, and be brave enough to take risks and do justice to themselves and those shirts they’re privileged to wear. Lincoln would be a good place to start. COYB!

ArnieM added 21:51 - Dec 27
I think Holy will play Sunday . Looking at previous teams he seems to play each GK for two consecutive games before “ rotating “ them out. As for the rest of the team , f luck knows! 🙄

KiwiBlue2 added 01:48 - Dec 28
Woolfie, Chambers, Wilson
Dobra, Downes, Huws, Judge, Garbutt
Jackson , Norwood

Bench: Norris, Donacien, Kenlock, Nolan, Dozell, Keane, Sears

If possible would like to see Freddie given a good 30 minute run.
Having Dobra and Garbut on the flanks would inject some life.

billlm added 09:08 - Dec 28
Not a kenlock fan but with donacien not being a natural wing back we need a flat back four, donacien woolfy Chambers/Wilson kenlock, garbutt needs to be further up the field, people will moan about kenlocks inclusion but he's played enough championship games to cope at this level, he started the season and at least we won some,

dirtydingusmagee added 09:10 - Dec 28
Lincoln will know they can do us, our hope is that they get complacent , We need far more fight and desire if we are going to get anywhere. WE NEED ALL THE POINTS, COYB, prove we are worthy of our current position .

dirtydingusmagee added 09:23 - Dec 28
heading should actually read,''Town go out to try and win endless run AGAIN .''

dirtydingusmagee added 11:15 - Dec 28
SORRY hangover got better of me lol. Should read Town go out to end winless run AGAIN, but hey ho ,JUST NEED A B###DY WIN .

DifferentGravy added 12:25 - Dec 28
Admittedly we are only a small percentage of town support. But judging by the bloggers names and the comments made, from a cross section of fans (male, female, old, young, cross county/country), we all seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet and are selecting a similar starting 11(completely forgot about Dobra).......so im at a loss to understand how Lambert is so ignorant(stubborn) to the facts. Surely we all just want the best for town.......ie..........win!

BettyBlue added 13:28 - Dec 28
We won't win again while Lambert is still manager.

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