Why we won’t see sweeping changes for the Imps this weekend

Courtesy Graham Burrell

This weekend’s fixture with Colchester promises to be something of a dead rubber in terms of result, although don’t tell Danny Cowley that!

He’s going to be keen to get one over on Colchester after their shenanigans last time we met, plus as a born winner he’ll want to finish the season on a high.

Any talk of a weakened side is futile as well, not just because of Danny’s intense passion and commitment to the game, but also a rule change brought about as we were emerging from the National League.

It is no longer possible for a team to field a weakened side for their final fixtures if they’ve already secured their own promotion. Once upon a time, a game such as this might have seen us throw young players in and a few of the fringe names, but thanks to Huddersfield Town, that can’t happen.

During the closing weeks of the 2016-17 season, Huddersfield Town had already secured a play-off place in the Championship. That led them to make ten changes for a fixture at Birmingham City, who were struggling against the drop along with Blackburn Rovers.

Birmingham went on to win 2-0 that relegated Blackburn. Rovers pointed to the weakened side as the reason they went down, sparking a change in EFL policy.

Clubs have now agreed that for any match after the fourth Thursday in March, there are strict guidelines to adhere to in terms of team selection.

The policy states: “For any league match played on or after the fourth Thursday in March, any team sheet for a league game should include at least ten outfield players who featured on the team sheet for the league match before.”

“In the event any club breaches the threshold, they may be charged with a breach of Regulation 24 and the matter will be referred to a disciplinary commission.”

Basically, if you wanted to see James Brown, James Wilson and Jordan Roberts in the side, you might find yourself disappointed. 

Don’t rule out an appearance for Ellis Chapman though, as we understand it the youngster can play after his loan spell at Chesterfield ended.