Date: 4th October 2018 at 7:30pm
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Saturday afternoon sees the first of 3 away trips during the month of October with a trip to Sincil Bank to play against Lincoln City.

So far this season they have 8 victories, 1 draw and 2 losses in the league. They have beaten Northampton Town, Swindon Town, Bury, Notts County, Exeter City, Macclesfield Town, MK Dons and Cheltenham Town whilst their only draw came in match 3 against Grimsby Town and their losses came against Crawley Town and Tranmere Rovers, the latter coming on Tuesday night. In cup competitions, they beat Port Vale then lost in Round 2 to Blackburn Rovers in the EFL Cup whilst they have lost to Mansfield Town in the EFL Trophy and will play Scunthorpe United on Tuesday before a game against Wolves Under-21s in the final group game.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 101 times with Lincoln leading the head-to-head with 38 wins to 33 with 30 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 8-1 victory at the Alexandra Stadium in December 1931 while City’s biggest win came at Sincil Bank in September 1951 where they won 11-1. Last season saw 2 away wins with both teams winning 4-1 at their opposition’s ground.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Paul Marsden as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Anthony Moore and Stephen Wade with Robert Atkin being the fourth official. This is the first game that Crewe will have been refereed by Marsden.

I asked Lincoln City supporter Lewis Kelly for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Lincoln’s transfer activity over the summer?

The transfer window was great for Lincoln. We lost Alex Woodward to Peterborough, which was disappointing but expected – he has since been appointed captain there and is doing very well. We strengthened defensively, bringing in Harry Toffolo from Millwall and somehow managing to sign Jason Shackell. Toffolo has appearances for England’s U18,19 and 20 and is becoming a fan favourite. Shackell has only ever played in the championship and premier league, winning promotion to the big league 3 times.

Our midfield was bolstered with the acquisition of last seasons Notts County captain and Crewe academy graduate Michael O’Connor- he has added a bit of grit and bite to the midfield, whilst reforming a league 1 and championship partnership with captain Lee Frecklington.

Bruno Andrade was snapped up from Boreham Wood. He’s one of those players that lurks beneath the trap door of the national league doing very well, just waiting for a league club to come in for him. We did, and it’s looking to be a cracking move.

Lincoln broke their record transfer fee in bringing in Barnet’s John Akinde. The big man is strong, powerful and probes a handful for defenders. He’s sparked debate with the Lincoln faithful of late, with many expecting more of him. For the record, I think he’s started well and adds extra lethality to our team.

What do you think the team will be for Saturday’s game?

Josh Vickers will start in goal. Our back 4 will be unchanged with Neal Eardley on the right, Michael Bostwick and Jason Shackell in the centre, and Harry Toffolo on the left. The midfield will give Danny Cowley a headache. Our captain Lee Frecklington was sent off a few games ago, and the midfield of O’Connor, Tom Pett, Shay McCartan won all 3 games in his absence. Frecklington came back in for Tuesday’s defeat at Tranmere in place of O’Connor. Cowley will be demanding a response from those who started on Tuesday, so I’d expect the midfield to stay the same. We’ll start with Harry Anderson and Bruno Andrade on the wings, with John Akinde up front. We’ll most likely fluctuate between 4-4-1-1 with McCartan in CAM, and 4-3-3.

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the City team?

I’ll go with Bruno Andrade. The tricky winger has caused a host of problems for full-backs thus far. He’s full of energy and can go either way. He’s only got 1 goal this season, but he’s never far away from a goal or an assist. John Akinde will keep the centre-halves busy, and Frecklington will look to make the third man runs.

Crewe fans will recognise midfielder Michael O’Connor (who is featured in our Academy Alumni column) in your squad, how likely to be involved and how has he fitted into the squad??

O’Connor has been a regular starter for most of the season, but with Frecklington’s return from suspension- he found himself on the bench on Tuesday. He came on for 10 minutes or so and played well, as has always been the case in my opinion. As I mentioned before, he adds grit and aggression to the midfield and passes the ball very well. He has 1 goal to his name, scoring the 3rd in our 4-0 win at Port Vale in the Carabao Cup. I don’t know whether O’Connor will start, he’s a player with injury problems in the past and he’ll need to be managed well over a busy October. I’d like to see him play, though.

What would think would be a successful season for Lincoln and who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

A successful season would have to be promotion. We’ve invested heavily into the team on and off the pitch and promotion to League 1 is the next step in the club’s development. Last season exceeded expectations, winning the Checkatrade and finishing in the play-offs.

Without being too biased, I don’t think there are many teams in the league that are better than us on our day, and the Cowleys’ meticulousness and intensity deserves promotion. It’s hard to call promotion and relegation at this stage – but I’ll go with Lincoln, MK Dons and Colchester for the automatics, and Mansfield through the play-offs – beating Exeter in the final, that’d be funny.

Relegation will be Macclesfield and Morecambe, of that I’m more confident! Cheltenham may be in for a tough time as well.

 

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