We’re in cup action this evening, with 1,400 Imps descending on Meadow Lane for our first trip to Notts County in four-and-a-half seasons.
The last time we went there, we were en route to winning the League Two title, we drew 1-1, and there was a bit of a meltdown, if I recall. I’m pretty sure playing the team 92nd in the Football League leaves scope for the same again – but this is a tough tie. They had their keeper sent off on Saturday, contributing to a heavy defeat, but they’ll be strong this evening.
Will we? It’s a good question. Reeco Hackett and Tyler Walker are not on 90 minutes just yet, whilst Jaden Brown and Ted Bishop are unlikely to play. That means we’ve little in terms of flexibility in the side, and Saturday’s defeat may mean we go a bit stronger than we would have done had we got a hard-fought draw in Lancashire.
So, how do I think we’ll line up?
Our options are minimal for tonight’s game. We’re a centre-back short because of Jaden Brown’s injury, and with Lewis Montsma out as well, I’d imagine we’ll be keeping tabs on a loan player. However, for tonight, I can see us going the same as Saturday. I’ve put O’Connor in the middle and Jackson on the left, but it may be exactly the same as Saturday, with them swapped around.
I suspect we’ll give Jensen some more time in goal. Jordan Wright can get some minutes in the EFL Trophy, but I think it’ll benefit Jensen to get some matches under his belt with the rest of the team and help him settle. We’ve got minimal options at full-back as well. Jay Benn might be involved, but I don’t see Lasse dropping out or going to the left-hand side. On the left, options or minimal, so again, I think it’ll be a case of ‘as you were’.
I do think we’ll make a change in midfield. We won’t go to a fourth division team and try to defend; at least, I hope we don’t. That might mean a chance for Alistair Smith to get some game time. I strongly suspect Ethan Erhahon will start every game he is fit for, but I do wonder if Smith and Hamilton might rotate between cup games. I like Smith, he’s looked like a strong incomer over the summer, and this sort of game will suit him.
I think young Dylan Duffy will get a start. If both Tyler and Reeco are on managed schedules, then they can have minutes later on, but Duffy has had a decent pre-season and will want minutes in the legs. I also think we’d like to have protected Danny Mandroiu a bit, perhaps given him a rest, but I don’t see another option – wide attack is a position we need one more of in the squad for games just like this. We could play Jay Benn at right back and push Lasse much further up if we really needed to rest Danny.
Do you agree? Let me know in the comments or on social media.