Lincoln City not in the mood for upsets with safety top of The Imps’ agenda


Lincoln City continues to embark on their challenge to move away from the relegation zone as they take on the bottom of the table Doncaster Rovers at the LNER Stadium.

With now five points separating Lincoln from 21st placed Morecambe, Tuesday night’s fixture presents the opportunity for The Imps to pick up three vital points to further alleviate getting dragged into the relegation mix.

Having beaten Morecambe last week in a well earned 2-1 win and only just conceding another three points to promotion hopefuls Wycombe in the 85th minute on Saturday, the start of a tricky month has gotten off to a good start.

“It’s been a good week for us. The seasons has been difficult at home and we haven’t got a good record at all. Obviously, there’s a bit of pressure so going into the previous two games against Morecambe and Wycombe.

“We’ve managed to pick up four points which has been good. and play some decent stuff. So to be able to get three points tomorrow would be great for the club.”

Gary McSheffrey’s start to life at Doncaster has not had the desired effect to improve their position despite winning just three games since taking over as manager.

The statistics paint a grim picture for Rovers. They have lost 14 games out of their last 17 fixtures and having conceded the first goal in all 23 games this season, they have only avoided defeat on three of those occasions.

With McSheffrey’s men struggling to build on their shock win at Sunderland, boss Michael Appleton is aware that despite his side’s improved recently, there can be no room for complacency given the Imps 0-0 draw with Rovers in November.

Although his side are not too far away now from getting to the safety mark, he appreciated that despite Rovers being rooted to the bottom of the League One table, their threat cannot be taken lightly.

“I’ve thought we need to get to that 50 points as soon as we possibly can. Just make sure that we can breathe a little bit easier. Although, I would say it’s probably more of a dangerous game tomorrow night.

“We’re playing against a side, who from an expectation point of view, there is very little (pressure) on them because of where they are at this moment in time. So that makes them more dangerous.

“We have to go into the game with a determination and understanding that at the times when we dug in on Saturday, we had to defend our box towards the end of the game and we’re gonna have to do that again tomorrow.”

Arsenal loanee Brooke Norton-Cuffy came into the side for his full league debut against Wycombe. With Joe Walsh missing through injury having completed his first 90 minutes against Morecambe, TJ Eyoma slotted into centre-back to give Norton-Cuffy his opportunity at right-back.

The young defender did not disappoint in a solid display that saw him leave with the supporter’s man of the match award for his efforts.

Having given him an introductory taste to first-team football coming off the bench since arriving from The Gunners, Appleton did not hesitate to hand him his debut against high-flyers Wycombe.

“He’s got great pedigree coming from a club the size and stature of Arsenal. And the thing I like about Brooke is his mentality and his attitude.

He’s got great physical attributes, is quick and strong, but his mentality and his eagerness to do well is the thing that impresses me most about him.”

With defensive injuries and fitness still plaguing The Imps season, Norton-Cuffy has the opportunity to claim a starting place given that some of Appleton’s squad are still playing through the pain barrier and midfielder Ted Bishop has already been deployed in the position.

Having come through the Arsenal Academy system, Norton-Cuffy was delighted about how his debut had gone of the challenge that awaits him to play at right-back.

“It was a proud moment for me. I’ve been working hard in training and for my whole life leading up to my professional debut full debut.

“I was pretty happy with my performance, but there are a lot of things I can improve. I started the game a bit shaky, but I feel like I grew into the game. I thought I did alright for my debut.

“There’s a couple of us who can play right-back, and it’s just about working hard in training every day and trying to impress so you can get the start.”

In team news, centre back Joe Walsh remains a doubt after missing out against Wycombe and TJ Eyoma is rated as 50/50 with a groin issue but he is expected to come through a late fitness test.

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