Lincoln City face a huge test of their title credentials tomorrow when they come up against local rivals Grimsby Town.
The Imps have led the way in League Two for most of the season and meet Grimsby on the back of three successive defeats, but before that Michael Jolley’s side were the in-form team.
He won the Manager of the Month with on loan midfielder Elliot Embleton winning the PFA Bristol Street Motors Player of the Month in an impressive December at Blundell Park. The curse has well and truly struck though with defeats at the hands of Mansfield, Crystal Palace and Macclesfield.
Derby day always throws the form book out of the window and 9,000 fans are expected at a sold out Sincil Bank in the early kick off.
Imps manager Danny Cowley has a selection headache, with two regular first team players banned for the game.
He’s been bolstered by the arrival of three new faces yesterday, at least one of which we expect to see tomorrow. Here’s the starting XI we expect to see him go with.
One or two of the positions pick themselves, with both full backs expected to be unchanged despite the arrival of James Brown from Millwall. Cian Bolger, up until recently a regular for Fleetwood, will be match fit and likely to start for the Imps in place of suspended central defender Jason Shackell.
Blackburn loanee Scott Wharton could take Shackell’s place, also being a left sided defender, but it’s likely Cowley will want Bolger involved quickly.
The midfield takes on a familiar feel with captain Lee Frecklington and former Port Vale man Michael O’Connor expected to start. Bruno Andrade is suspended for three matches, but the game will surely come too soon for Danny Rowe, signed on loan from Ipswich yesterday.
That’ll mean Tom Pett likely reprises his role on the left, something he did ably before the festive period. There’s options available though, Harry Anderson can play on the left meaning Kellan Gordon might get a run out. Bernard Mensah is also still on loan from Bristol Rovers, although he’s unlikely to feature after failing to impress.
Up front he’ll keep it consistent, with big John Akinde leading the line, backed up by Shay McCartan who scored a wonder goal to earn the nine men a 2-2 draw away at Swindon last weekend.