‘They’re probably desperate for a game just as much as we are’ – Michael Appleton faces press ahead of Burton clash

Imps manager Michael Appleton has been speaking to press ahead of the trip to Burton Albion, only City’s second league game in a full month.

Burton, who are currently 12th and six points ahead of the Imps, were held at home by Southend in midweek but impressed despite going behind and falling to ten men. However, having played four games since the Imps last took to the field, we could have a fitness advantage. That’s not a feeling necessarily shared by the manager though.

“There’s an argument to say that because we haven’t played, we might drop off a little bit,” he said.

“I don’t really look at it too much. It depends on the state of the game., whether we’re going to be up in the game or trying to chase the game. No two games of football are the same. If you’re leading, you’ve got something to hang on to and your energy levels are right up there, but at the same time if you’re behind in a game there’s always the team chasing trying to get that goal.

“We’ll find out on Saturday, I’d like to think we’ve kept on top of the players, kept their fitness levels as high as we can and kept them as sharp as we possibly can, so we’ll find out on Saturday.”

Without a game in such a long time there’s always a chance that the Imps might struggle to get into a rhythm, something Michael is aware of but believes the players won’t suffer from.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen, the first 20 minutes are going to be key on Saturday. They’ve had a quite a few games recently, as recently as Tuesday night, it’s going to be the third week before we get the opportunity to go and have a go at Burton. Hopefully, we’ll come raring and looking to come out of the blocks thick and fast.

“I’m imagining that will be the case because if the players are anything like I am they’ll be desperate to get back into it and look forward to the games we’ve got ahead.”

We’re set to welcome back Michael Bostwick after he came through a 90-minute session against Scunthorpe in midweek, but generally the gaffer lamented the injury situation at the club, with only one of the injured players having benefitted from the three-week break.

“I think the issue with some of the injuries that we’ve got is they don’t seem to be your seven-to-ten-day type injuries. If you look at the amount of time Freck has had out this season, Michael (O’Connor) at different times and obviously now Bruno and obviously Bozzy.

“They’ve been good, substantial injuries, six to eight weeks with a lot of them.”

The break has certainly left supporters hungry for football, with 1300 expected to make the journey across the country to Burton on Saturday. The manager certainly senses the frustration at not having had a game and paid tribute to the fans willing to make the journey as Christmas closes in.

“It’s fantastic and they’re probably desperate for a game just as much as we are. I can sense that, and I feel that. Since I’ve been at the football club and it’s something I’ve been aware of since before even coming here is that we’ve got great support and we’re going to need that over the festive period. “