Michael Bostwick came through 90 minutes of football this afternoon in a friendly game against Scunthorpe United and is now surely in contention for a starting place against Burton.
As reported by the club’s official website, last year’s Player of the Season finally got a full game under his belt in his quest for fitness. Bostwick hasn’t featured since our 1-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers back in September, just days after Danny Cowley left the club.
That looks set to be put right this weekend, 13 games and seven defeats later. There’s little doubt we’ve missed his aggression and drive at the back, perhaps also his commitment and motivational qualities as well. Bostwick, who is out of contract at the end of the season, was not the only one to get a full game under his belt this afternoon either.
Ben Coker continued his road to recovery with a full outing as we defeated the Iron 1-0. Coker made his debut in the 3-0 EFL Trophy win against Rotherham, his first game since October 2018. He hasn’t featured in the first team since, but after completing the full game this afternoon he’ll be raring to go and eager to be involved this weekend. That might even allow Harry Toffolo a more advanced role in the absence of Bruno Andrade.
“It was a good competitive match, and they (Scunthorpe) fielded quite a strong team,” coach Jamie McCombe said after the fixture.
“We had a few individuals who needed match practice, so it was a useful exercises all round. There was some really good things in the performance, and it was pleasing for them to get the clean sheet and the goal. The most important thing was the process of playing 90 minutes and getting that match fitness into them.”
The Imps won this afternoon’s game by one goal to nil, the winner coming courtesy of Aaron Lewis. The Iron were fielding a strong side, with their website claiming a mix of first team players returning from injury and fringe players took part in the game. It was Welsh full back Lewis who stole the show, his glorious 25-yard free kick the difference between the sides, something that didn’t surprise McCombe.
“It was excellent, but I’m not surprised. He spends lots of time on the training ground practising free-kicks. I said to the bench when he was stepping up that and I felt confident that he had it in him to do it, and it was an excellent finish.”
The game also saw a number of trialists make appearances, with three in the starting XI. Looking at the formation one of those was a defensive player, whilst one was a striker and the other possibly a winger. In addition to that, Jordan Adebayo-Smith also played, with Alex Bradley on the bench but not featuring.
Academy goalkeeper Sam Long also saved a late penalty after coming on as a sub for Grant Smith, rounding off a good afternoon for City as we move towards only our second league match since November 2nd.
The friendly is bound to have given Michael Appleton food for thought. Lewis’ goal and performance surely edges him closer to the first team, whilst Jordan’s inclusion perhaps indicates he’s being considered in our current striker crisis. There’s also the inclusion of Callum Connolly to consider; Everton will surely be keen to see him go on to play senior football and his outing might be a precursor to a return to Goodison in January.