Pre-Season Fixtures Take Shape as Three Announced

Credit Graham Burrell

Friendlies aren’t really for me, but for those who like to get an early look at the Imps, there will be three opportunities at least.

Of course, more will be announced, but we’re currently scheduled to appear in three matches, all against opposition from the north of England. The first of those games will be against Preston North End, but you’ll have to travel south if you want to see it; it’s being played in Spain on July 12th.

The Imps went there last season to play Stockport County, and this season it will be Preston. It will be the first time this century we’ve faced Preston; the last time was in our 1998/99 season. On that occasion, we conceded nine goals in two games, losing 5-0 at their places and 4-3 at home, despite leading 3-1 with just 19 minutes left on the clock. The last time we beat Preston was the opening day of the 1995 season when Dean West and David Puttnam bagged for us.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Two more friendlies have been announced today. The first is to take place against Oldham Athletic, currently of the National League, on July 20th. That is a 3 pm kick-off, and sees us make our first trip there since the title-winning season in 2018/19. We drew that game 1-1 despite playing much of the second half with ten men. In terms of competitive action, you have to go back to 1949 for our last victory at Boundary Park, with larger-than-life striker Jock Dodds bagging a brace.

A week later, City will head to Wetherby Road, Harrogate, to face Harrogate Town in another 3 pm kick off. We never faced Simon Weaver’s side in competitive action before, so it’s a chance for groundhoppers to chalk off a new stadium.  The Sulphurites finished 13th in League Two last season, a fine finish given the spending of some of their rivals, and at 15 years, Weaver is the longest-serving manager in the league, having been in charge since May 2009. We did play them in pre-season 2013 when a Nick Wright hat trick gave us a 3-2 win.

With the season not commencing until August 10th, those are likely to be two earlier pre-season matches. There’s usually at least one closer to the start of the campaign at Sincil Bank, which we wait eagerly for.