Meet Town’s opposition: A lot of managers will envy Lambert, insists Imps boss Appleton
PUBLISHED: 16:00 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:46 23 October 2020
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Football writer Carl Marston casts his eye over tomorrow’s hosts Lincoln City, a club very much on the rise. Just three years ago, they were still a non-league club.
Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton admits that many League One managers will be envious of the quality of squad that Paul Lambert has managed to assemble at Portman Road.
The Imps have had a great start to the season themselves, winning their first four league matches and currently sitting level on points (16 from seven games) with second-placed Ipswich.
So tomorrow afternoon is a top-three clash at Sincil Bank, between two clubs who were two divisions apart just 18 months ago, Town in the Championship and Lincoln in League Two.
While Town were relegated from the Championship in 2019, Lincoln, with Danny Cowley at the helm, were crowned League Two champions.
Looking slightly further back, three divisions separated the teams just three years ago, with Lincoln on their way to the National League title in 2017.
Lincoln, like Town, have only dropped five points from their first seven league fixtures.
This included winning their first four, at home to Oxford United and Charlton Athetic (both 2-0), and away at MK Dons (2-1) and Blackpool (3-2).
efeat arrived with a surprise 2-1 reverse to Bristol Rovers, the hosts ending that match with 10 men following Adam Jackson’s late red card.
But normal service has since been resumed, with a goalless draw against Fleetwood Town last weekend followed by a 2-0 home win over Plymouth Argyle in midweek.
The Imps have a big goal threat, with two players having already plundered 11 goals between them during the first two months of the campaign.
Summer signing Lewis Montsma, who arrived from his native Holland, has netted six goals in 11 outings in all competitions, an impressive haul for a centre-half!
The 6ft 3ins defender, who is also a male model, was signed from FC Dordrecht, who play in the second division of Dutch football.
Meanwhile, Jorge Grant slotted home his fifth goal of the season with the opening goal in the midweek victory over Plymouth, dispatching a penalty.
Grant currently tops the League One goalscoring charts, all his five goals having been netted in the league. He is joint top with Ipswich’s Gwion Edwards.
Appleton on his own team
“I feel that we are a group on the up,” enthused Appleton, the former boss at Portsmouth and Oxford United.
“Next season, if we manage to keep this group together, then I think we can give it a real go, but it’s early days at present.
“There is a great atmosphere around the football club.
“We have a great group and we have a vibrant feel at the training ground. We are excited for the future, this is a work in progress, and we will continue to work hard to hit our targets.”
Appleton on Ipswich
“I have to be mindful that certain opposition will bring certain problems,” explained 44-year-old Appleton.
“We will pick a team which is ready physically and tactically to win the game – Ipswich will be a tough opponent for us.
“Ipswich probably expected to go up last year. They have strength in depth and there will be a lot of managers who will be envious of what Paul (Lambert) has to choose from.
“They have made a few small changes to their approach and we will hopefully make sure that isn’t too much of an issue.”
Imps’ new blood
Earlier this month, 20-year-old midfielder Robbie Gotts was signed on loan for the season from Premier League new boys Leeds United. He was on the bench against the Pilgrims in midweek.
Brennan Johnson, another October arrival, had a big impact on Tuesday night, scoring one goal and setting up the other in a 2-0 home win.
Snapped up on loan from Nottingham Forest, teenager Johnson earned the penalty for Grant to convert, and then doubled the lead with his first goal for the club. He is a Welsh under-21 international.
At the start of the season, a trio of new arrivals bolstered the squad. Keeper Alex Palmer, midfielder Remy Howarth and striker Callum Morton all put pen to paper.
Palmer is the Imps’ first-choice custodian, having played 37 games on loan at Plymouth from West Brom last term. The 24-year-old has played every game so far this term, although he is yet to make a senior appearance for the Baggies, who remain his parent club.