Lincoln in Nailsworth

Lincoln arrive for the return game between the 2 sides on Saturday 25th Feb (3pm ko).  Rovers played Lincoln at Sincil Bank back in August last year, in their 3rd game of the season.  The match finished 1-1 – a 63rd minute Bailly Cargill own goal cancelled out by a 73rd minute Connor Wickham strike.

How are they doing?

The Imps are comfortably mid-table in 14th place.  They have 39 points from 30 games.  It looks as though they won’t be challenging for the play-offs, but neither do they look in any danger of being dragged into a relegation battle.

Lincoln have had 7 defeats, 8 wins and 16 draws so far.  They have an unbeaten record at home this season, albeit that 12 of their matches at Sincil Bank have ended in draws.  Away from home they have had some significant victories – beating Oxford Utd, Barnsley, Ipswich, Accrington & Bristol Rovers in a 6-3 thriller.  In their last away game they held Derby to a 1-1 draw.

Lincoln have proved themselves very difficult to beat.  They have the 6th meanest defence in League 1 with just 31 goals conceded in 30 games (by contrast, Rovers have the leakiest defence having conceded 63 goals).

However, Lincoln haven’t been that potent in attack this season – just 29 goals so far.

Lincoln’s last outings have seen them win 3-0 away at Accrington and then do the double over Bristol Rovers with a 1-0 home victory.  Then followed a 1-1 away draw at Derby and a 0-0 home draw against Portsmouth.

The Bristol win was a tetchy affair with Bristol striker Ryan Loft dismissed just before half time and Bristol manager, Joey Barton, caught on BBC radio offering to ‘sort out’ one or two of the Lincoln players after the game!

Lincoln have spent most of the last 60 years in the 4th tier of the EFL.  During that time they have had 4 relatively brief spells in the 3rd tier and a couple of drops to the 5th tier.  Two promotions under then boss Danny Cowley put the Imps back in the 3rd tier in 2019 before Cowley left for Huddersfield (Cowley then moved to Portsmouth but was sacked from Pompey this season).

Last season Lincoln finished 17th in League 1.  They were comfortably clear of relegation but more than 30 points adrift of the play-off places.  Offensively, they didn’t really fire, and their home form was lack-lustre.  They managed 14 wins, 10 draws and 22 losses during last season.

Lincoln City to welcome fans back to Sincil Bank for Sunderland match

Lincoln’s Sincil Bank stadium.  The stadium holds just over 10,000.  Lincoln’s average gates this year are almost 8,500.

Who to watch for?

Former Newport and Manchester Utd defender, Regan Poole (number 2), was named Player’s Player and Player of the Season for Lincoln last season.  The right-sided defender has clearly made his mark in the one and a half seasons he has been at the club.  Poole scored his 1st goal of the season in the recent 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers.

Goalkeeper Carl Rushworth, on loan from Brighton, has impressed for Lincoln this season.  Rushworth, now 21 years old, has represented England at u-19 level.

Lincoln’s goal-scorers this season have been Ben House (number 18) who has 7 goals and Jack Diamond (number 27) who has 6.

The recent record between the sides does not make for very good reading.  In their 4 League 2 encounters, Rovers were beaten  by Lincoln 4 times.  The most recent meetings between the two sides were an FA Cup tie in November 2020 (Lincoln won 6-2 at Sincil Bank) and the League 1 game last August which ended 1-1.

Regan Poole, Lincoln’s Player of the Season last season.

Unusual' - Ben House admits to Lincoln City surprises after impressive display - Lincolnshire Live

Ben House has 7 goals for Lincoln this campaign.

Jack Diamond is an Imp - News - Lincoln City

Striker Jack Diamond moved from Sunderland to Lincoln in 2018.  Still only 23, he has 6 goals this season.

The Manager

The Cowley brothers were in charge until 2019, then the club were managed by Michael Appleton.  Appleton moved to take charge of Blackpool in April last year, so the new manager,  Mark Kennedy, is in his first full season.  Kennedy was in charge of Macclesfield for a brief spell before leaving the club when they were relegated to the National League following a points deduction for financial issues.  He has spent time with academy players at Man City, Wolves and Ipswich before joining Lincoln.

Imps manager Mark Kennedy.

About the Club

Lincoln became one of the founding members of the 2nd tier of english football in 1892.  Since that time, there has been something of a steady decline going on.  They went between the 2nd and 3rd tiers pre and post war before settling to spend most of their recent history in the 4th tier.  There have been rises to the 3rd tier and drops to the 5th tier, but, most of the time they have been in the 4th.  A couple of seasons have seen them coming close to promotion back to the 2nd tier but it hasn’t happened for them.

Lincoln’s most famous manager is probably former England boss Graham Taylor.  Although Taylor is most closely associated with Watford, he was in charge of Lincoln between 1972 and 1977 and earned them a promotion from the 4th to 3rd tier.

The club are nicknamed the Imps after a 14th-century legend, where two mischievous creatures called imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. After causing mayhem in Northern England, the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop.  You can see the imps at the magnificent cathedral, which is pretty close to the ground, albeit up one of Lincolshire’s few hills.  For over 200 years between 1311 and 1549, Lincoln Cathedral was the tallest building in the world at 524 feet (before its spire collapsed!).

Lincoln cathedral’s imps

The Lincoln mascot represents an imp, apparently.  He’s called Poacher.

Graham Taylor in his Lincoln days and his England days