City host 19th place Woking today in (as always) the most important match of the season so far. It should be a routine win for the Imps, but in football nothing is certain, and team selection will be everything.
The Cards will feature two faces that are familiar to City. Right back Jake Caprice, who this week said he didn’t fancy his sides chances against the ‘big boys’, and also former loan star Macualey Bonne. Bonne played seven times for Lincoln earlier in the season, his solitary goal giving us a 1-0 win over Tranmere in early September.
As for City, the team selection will be really interesting. I suspect a bulk of the team will be our recognised ‘first team’, so there will be no selection surprises with Wood, Habergham, Raggett, Waterfall, Armold, Hawkridge, Woodyard, Rhead and of course Paul Farman.
There will be a question mark over Alan Power today. He’s been superb recently, but having travelled to, and played again Welling he may drop down to the bench. Much depends on the fitness of new signing Billy Knott. I feel almost certain Knott has been signed to be part of the starting eleven, and I’m sure had he been available he would have got sixty minutes last weekend. If he isn’t match fit then possibly Power will play, or maybe Sean Long will play at full back and Brad will slot into midfield.
Up front with Theo gone there is a starting place available alongside Big Rheady. I feel almost certain that Dayle Southwell will start the game, with Adam Marriott getting thirty minutes towards the end of the game as well. DC said that in order for Adam Marriott to be most effective you needed pace down both flanks, and with Ginnelly we’re able to offer that at the same time Adam comes on.
Being able to second guess the changes isn’t usual, but I would imagine the final change will be Josh Ginnelly coming on at some point to inject additional pace in the last half hour when the Woking legs are tired. Having seen what he is capable of at Welling he looks almost certain to fill the ‘Harry Anderson’ role of terrorising defences as the game wears on and their legs begin to fade.
Three months ago I would have tipped Ginnelly to start over Terry Hawkridge, but Terry has been outstanding these last few games. Since Harry Anderson left he’s stepped up to the plate and added a tremendous work rate to his technical ability. I don’t think DC will be looking to make significant changes to a side that (bar Barrow) has done so well over the past few months.
Will we miss the harrying and pressing Theo Robinson? I think Dayle offers something quite different, and for now the pace of our attacks will come from out wide whilst we have more meticulous players through the centre.
Elsewhere we’ll be hoping new Southport manager Andy Preece has an immediate effect, his team host our closest challengers Dagenham and Redbridge. Tranmere have a routine home match with Bromley and Forest Green host Boreham Wood. The big clash in the top seven is Aldershot and Barrow, where a defeat for Barrow would effectively end their slim title hopes.