The Imps are going into tomorrow’s clash with Crewe with a couple of injury worries, both of which could pave the way for Robbie Gotts to make his debut for the club.
On the back of a fine 1-0 win against Ipswich, City will be looking to cement their lead at the top of the League One table. Confidence will be high having already beaten Crewe at Gresty Road this season, but it will by no means be an easy task. The Railwaymen won at Doncaster this weekend and have already beaten Wigan and MK Dons to sit 13th in the table.
City’s preparation could be derailed by injuries to a couple of key players, namely Lewis Montsma and Liam Bridcutt. The former scored the winner against Crewe on the opening day of the season (in the League Cup), with the latter having missed the start of the campaign through injury. Micahel Appleton aid in this morning’s press conference that both may be struggling.
“We’re waiting on Liam Bridcutt today to see if he comes through. He’s got a bit of a thigh problem,” he said, as reported by Lincolnshire Live.
“Lewis Montsma has got a bit of a sore groin at this moment in time. They could be doubts but I’ll know more when I speak to the medical staff this morning.”
The gaffer admitted that if Montsma isn’t fit, then Adam Jackson may come back into the side. The former Hibernian defender has been out since the defeat against Bristol Rovers, a game in which he conceded a penalty and got sent off. Injury has ruled him out of the last three encounters, all of which brought the Imps a clean sheet.
“It depends on the fitness of Lewis,” said Michael, when talking about Adam’s possible role. “Lewis and Joe [Walsh], over the last three games, have built up a good relationship. Three clean sheets speaks for itself. If Lewis isn’t available to play, we have got a ready-made replacement in terms of Jacko. He [Jackson] has been training with the whole group and we’re expecting him to train today.”
There are other options for the Imps though, and they all seem to indicate that Robbie Gotts could finally make an appearance for the club. He has been on the bench for the last three fixtures, but as yet hasn’t appeared for City. he can play either right-back or central midfield, and the injury worries may open a spot for him.
If Lewis doesn’t make the game, then Michael could choose to play TJ Eyoma alongside Joe Walsh in defence. That might depend on Adam’s fitness of course, but if TJ did drop into the centre, a role he performed well in against Mansfield in the cup, then it would leave the right-back slot open for Gotts to take. It is more likely that Adam comes back in, but the option for TJ to drop in there is a viable one.
There’s also the matter of Bridcutt in the centre of the midfield. The obvious swap is Grant into Bridcutt’s role and a shuffle up top, maybe Hopper in the centre and johnson back out on the flank, but we might also drop Gotts into the middle of the park. It’s a little tougher as Bridcutt is very much a holding midfield, whilst Gotts I would consider more of a box-to-box in the role of McGrandles and Jones. Perhaps, McGrandles could play the holding role and Gotts come in, but it is more likely that Grant drops back. However, with games Saturday and Tuesday for the foreseeable future, there is a chance Gotts could come in to play alongside Jones, as McGrandles has been used a little more sparingly.
if Grant does drop into the midfield, then the obvious choice is Johnson, Anderson and Hopper upfront. However, I really liked our dynamic approach with johnson through the centre and wondered f playing against a like-for-like 4-3-3 we might want to push the wide areas further, having maybe Archibald, Anderson and Johnson as the front three?
One thing is for certain, even with the injuries, there is no lack of options throughout the squad.