It’s matchday tomorrow, and as always, we have a number of ins and outs going into the game.
Remember when I did my breakdown of how often we’d had our strongest XI out last season? Well, this year, we haven’t at all. That’s not going to change this side of Christmas, not with Tom Hopper out, and it’s certainly not the case tomorrow. We do have several ins, and outs for tomorrow, and this is the latest.
In – Josh Griffiths
First up we have a big ‘in’, Josh Griffiths. He was injured whilst on England Under 21 duty, picking up a thumb injury, which did spark some concern. In today’s podcast, recorded last night, I said I was fairly confident that he’d be fit for the game tomorrow and he is, which is superb news. He’ll be between the sticks, looking to get that elusive first clean sheet of the league season.
Out – Tom Hopper
Hops, who finished last season in good form, is not going to be seen in the first team this side of Christmas, and he could be out for the rest of the year. He’s got a stress fracture and last appeared for City in the 1-0 defeat against Ipswich. It’s his second long(ish) term injury of the season, having missed much of March and April out injured, before his return to the side where he bagged in the play-offs against Sunderland.
In – Conor McGrandles
Conor McGrandles was our Player of the Season in 20/21, but his start this time out has been quiet. He did bag away at Cambridge, but he hasn’t looked his usual, dynamic self. The 26-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of this season, hasn’t played for the Imps since our 1-1 draw with Rotherham a month ago. There’s no doubt we’ve missed him buzzing around, but it is his second spell out this calendar year too; he was injured after our Dec 8th win against Shrewsbury in the EFL Trophy, and only came back in the win away at Northampton, where he scored.
Out – Liam Bridcutt
One in, one out, that’s the way our midfield seems to work. This is a big blow in my eyes. Our captain and leader, Liam Bridcutt, is out for another ten days, which seems to suggest he’ll miss Wimbledon and Sheff Weds too. That’s not good news; he’s been in good form this season and has only missed a single league game, away at Burton. He was blighted by injury last season, playing 23 of our 46 league games.
In – Regan Poole
Regan Poole is one of only three players to have started every league game this season (Josh Griffiths and Anthony Scully the other two), but he limped off against Plymouth in the second half, after going down in the first. He’s captained the side on two occasions this season, and might well be given the armband tomorrow, as he’s fit and showing no ill-effects from the Plymouth knock.
Out – Adam Jackson
I’ve noticed lots of people talking about Joe Walsh and Liam Bridcutt as being ‘crocks’, which is harsh, but it does surprise me they haven’t mentioned Jackson as well. He seems to have a lot of niggly injuries, a handful of weeks here and there. He’s only started six league games this season, and he’s out this weekend, so will have played in 50% of our matches. He played 28 times in the league last season, meaning he missed 18 games, although some of that was due to suspension.
Shaking It all About – Sean Roughan
Remember him? Yep, me too; I have his signed boots. I thought by now he’d be knocking on the door of a Championship club’s starting XI, but instead, we keep getting told he’s injured and not available for selection. What has he got, an amputated leg and waiting for a new one to grow back? I mean, Nat Brown’s wrist was an injury I thought would never heal, has Sean got something like that? I need to know if those boots are going to accrue in value, or if they’ll have to be stored with my Martin Pembleton signed shirt and Ollie Ryan soiled jockstrap (I said that for comedy value, I don’t have a Martin Pembelton signed shirt).