It has been far from the start to the season that many Lincoln City fans would have been hoping for this season, as they currently sit down in 18th place in League One, just four points away from the relegation places. Recent form has been a big hindrance to their chances of moving up the league standings.
However, fans may be tempted by the Rizk bonus before placing a wager on the club to remain in the league this season, as they can try their luck. But, what factors must the club address if they are to stay in League One this season?
End Barren Run Of Form
The first challenge facing Michael Appleton and his team will be ending the recent run of bad form that they are on. The Imps have the welcome distraction of an FA Cup second round tie against Hartlepool before returning to league action and a very stiff run of fixtures around the festive period. Recent Lincoln form hasn’t been good enough, as they have gone four without a victory, and have lost back-to-back games in the league.
That run without a victory has seen the gap between themselves and the drop zone cut to four points, and they can count themselves fairly fortunate that none of the bottom three have won during that run of games. However, Shrewsbury and Morecambe are both breathing down their necks ahead of the Christmas period of the season.
Improving Attacking Outlet
The Imps have been relatively decent defensively throughout the season, as they have allowed just 24 goals, which is the best record in the bottom half of the division. However, it has been a different story at the opposite end of the field, as they have found the back of the net on just 20 occasions. Two of the six teams behind them have both scored more league goals at this point of the season, while all 17 teams above them have scored greater than 20 goals this season in League One.
That lack of attacking threat has been evident in their last three league fixtures, as they have failed to score in all games. The last goal that they scored was in a 1-1 draw against Shrewsbury. Strikers will be looking to rebuild their confidence with a few goals this weekend against League Two strugglers Hartlepool.
Christmas Fixtures Crucial
As is the case for every team around England, the Christmas period is crucial to their chances of success this season. Lincoln play six fixtures between the middle of December and the start of January, which includes home games against Doncaster, MK Dons, and Oxford United. All three are winnable fixtures, but the match-up against Doncaster will be seen by many as a must-win match.
During the same run, the Imps travel to Rotherham and Ipswich Town. Both of those games on the road could be more tricky, as Ipswich have turned a corner in recent weeks, while Rotherham have been in formidable form throughout the season. Anything from those fixtures could be seen as a bonus for Appleton and his team.