PREVIEW: Lincoln City v Luton Town
Lincoln City have been ringing the changes ahead of their home clash with Luton tomorrow, writes Mike Simmonds.
With a squad ravaged by suspension, as four first team players are missing, boss Gary Simpson has been able to bring in Cambridge United duo, striker Delano Sam-Yorke and left-winger Mitch Austin so far, while young forward Jordan Thomas moved on loan to Spalding United.
Simpson has conceded defeat in his efforts to sign striker Jon Parkin from Fleetwood, but has a number of targets, one which he revealed to the Lincolnshire Echo is ex-Town midfielder Arnaud Mendy.
Simpson is hoping to keep hold of his star players during the transfer window too, and has already turned down a bid for an un-named member of his squad from a Football League club.
On the pitch, the Imps have struggled massively for consistency this season and sit in 18th place, just six points off the relegation zone.
At home, they started off superbly, with three straight wins, while although losing to Salisbury, victories over Southport and Hyde, made it 15 points out of a possible 18 in front of their own fans.
Then, it all started to go dramatically downhill, with just two draws and three defeats from their next five home games, including defeat to rivals Grimsby.
In fact, since September 28, Lincoln have won just one Conference match, that a 1-0 triumph at Southport, as they have taken a mere eight points from a possible 39, with five draws and seven losses.
Team news: Lincoln will have four players missing through suspension for tomorrow’s clash with Bohan Dixon and Ben Tomlinson out after Dixon was sent off against Grimsby on New Year’s Day and top scorer Tomlinson picked up his 10th booking of the season.
They join Jake Sheridan who serves the last match of his ban at the weekend, while Alan Power is suspended for the next three games.
For Town, Jon Shaw, Anthony Charles, Solomon Tawio and Andy Parry are back in training, but won’t be considered, while Alex Lacey is definitely out as are Jonathan Smith and Danny Fitzsimons.
New loan signing Kane Ferdinand from Peterborough will go straight into the squad for Town.
Top Skrill Premier scorer - Imps: Ben Tomlinson (7). Hatters: Andre Gray (14).
In charge: Gary Simpson - 52-year-old who started his playing career with Stoke City before moving to Boston United in 1980.
Skippered the club to the 1985 FA Trophy final, before leaving to join Stafford Rangers, Weymouth and Altrincham.
Took up his first managerial role at Gainsborough Trinity, where he was player/manager, but resigned in October 1993.
Signed as a player again for Arnold Town, before joining Hyde United in September 1994.
Became assistant boss to Keith Alexander at Ilkeston Town and the pair moved to Northwich Victoria, Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Macclesfield Town.
Took over at Macclesfield as caretaker when Alexander tragically died in March 2010, before being appointed permanently, but left in March 2012.
Was appointed as Lincoln boss on February 27 last year following the departure of David Holdsworth and ensured the club stayed in the Conference, signing a three year deal in the summer.
Average home crowd: Imps: 2,561. Hatters: 6,708.
One to watch: Sean Newton - 24-year-old full back who John Still admitted his admiration for in the build up to the clash, while Gary Simpson called him the best in the league.
Started life at Chester, before spells at Droylsden, Telford, Barrow and Stockport, until he moved to Lincoln in the summer and has made 24 league starts so far.
Friendly faces: Hatters boss John Still spent a spell at Sincil Bank as a coach after he was sacked as manager of Peterborough.
Eventually left the Imps when becoming Barnet boss in June 1997.
We’ve got form: Hatters have enjoyed the better of their visits to Sincil Bank, particularly recentiy as they haven’t lost in their last seven outings, the last defeat coming back in the 1966-67 season, which was a humbling 8-1 reverse with Bruce Rioch on target.
After losing their first three visits during the 1890s, Town have since only lost once in their 15 trips since, making an overall record of six wins, eight draws and four reverses from 18 matches, scoring 27 times, but conceding 34.
Town have never won by more than one goal though, with the 3-2 win in 1967 their best effort, thanks to Ray Whittaker’s penalty, Graham French and Keith Allen.
Last time out: Town were 2-1 winners at Lincoln last season.
Home keeper Paul Farman, a regular ally of Town, put through his own goal on 28 minutes, before Jon Shaw netted just after half time to make it 2-0.
Jamie Taylor pulled one back for the hosts on the hour mark, but Luton held on to ensure victory.
Hatters: Mark Tyler, Jake Howells, Simon Ainge, Connor Essam, Ronnie Henry, Alex Lawless, JJ O’Donnell, Scott Rendell (Jon Shaw 46), Stuart Fleetwood, Jake Robinson (Lathaniel Rowe-Turner 46), Andre Gray (Yaser Kasim 76).
Subs not used: Dean Brill, Dan Walker.
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