'They’ve got a lot of options in a lot of areas'... Lincoln boss on Town

Macauley Bonne battles with Timothy Eyoma.

Macauley Bonne, right, got the winner for Town at Lincoln earlier in the season. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Ipswich Town entertain Lincoln City tonight at Portman Road as the season begins to come to the boil. MIKE BACON takes a look at the Imps.

The story so far

Lincoln made a poor start to the League One season, winning just one of their opening five games.

However, a big 5-1 win at Cambridge United settled them down and, although Ipswich beat them 0-1 at Sincil Bank a week later, further wins at Burton and Wigan, as well as victory over Charlton kept them above the relegation zone.

While heading towards Christmas brought little cheer for Michael Appleton's side, with a succession of defeats, three fine wins in January, over Oxford at home, and Sunderland and Plymouth away settled the nerves once  more.

Their topsy-turvy season continued with home defeats to Doncaster and Gillingham before victory on Saturday over Sheffield Wednesday pulled them seven points clear of the relegation zone.

The Imps have a good record against the better sides in League One, something for Ipswich to be very aware of tonight.

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Currently the Imps are in 18th place on 38 points, while Town are ninth on 56. In the current last-six game form guide, Lincoln are 15th and Town sixth.

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton during the Sky Bet League One match at Montgomery Waters Meado

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton. - Credit: PA

Appleton hails team's character

Michael Appleton was left delighted with how his players performed on Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday, one of the tougher teams in the division, and says it revealed their true character.

The Imps snapped a three-game losing streak with victory over the in-form Owls at Sincil Bank, with Appleton now wanting his side to continue their good form at Portman Road tonight.

"They have got character; I think that’s a good thing and I’m pleased that they’ve been able to show that," he said of his team.

"If you look at the majority of our points this year, they’ve been against sides at the top of the table so that makes it a bit more frustrating.

“There’s a belief that we can beat the better teams in the division but one thing we need to improve on is obviously playing the sides nearer the bottom half of the table.”

However, Appleton knows it will be another difficult test for his side at Portman Road tonight.

He added: “It will be a massive test. I think Kieran McKenna has done a great job since he’s gone in and it just goes to show that the 19 players or so that they signed in the summer are really coming to the fore now.

“They’re a good side, they change formation quite regularly and they’ve got a lot of options in a lot of areas so it’s going to be a tough game."

Portsmouth's John Marquis battles for the ball with Sunderland's Corry Evans (left) and Tom Flanagan

John Marquis, then with Portsmouth and now with Lincoln, battles for the ball with Sunderland's Corry Evans (left) and Tom Flanagan (right) before his move to the Imps. - Credit: PA

One to watch

Imps striker, John Marquis, is in a fine run of form since his arrival from Portsmouth in January - and Town will need to keep an eye on him tonight.

After netting twice in the victory over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, the frontman has now bagged five goals in nine games since his arrival.

“I feel really confident. Physically I feel good and I feel as close to 100% as I have done in a long time physically and mentally,” he said to the Lincoln FC website.

“No game is more or less important than another. Saturday was a benchmark for us and moving onto Tuesday (at Ipswich) and beyond we have set a standard for where we want to be."

Head to head

Ipswich Town and Lincoln City first met back in 1954 in a Division Two match that Lincoln won 2-1.

Indeed, it wasn't until 1958 and the fifth meeting between the two sides that the Blues gained a victory, 4-1, again in a Division Two clash.

However, as Town moved up the leagues, so Lincoln went the other way.

When Town won the Division Two title in 1960/61 (before winning the First Division title a year later), Lincoln were relegated in that 60/61 season and the two sides were not to meet again until 2017 - more than 55 years later!

Sadly for Town fans, January 2017 was the infamous FA Cup third round clashes between the sides where, after drawing 2-2 at Portman Road, Mick McCarthy's Blues lost to then non-league Lincoln 0-1 at Sincil Bank.

Yet, in a reversal of league fortunes, it's Lincoln who have been on the up in recent seasons and Town on the way down. The two teams have met five times in League One since 2019... Lincoln winning twice and Town twice, with one draw.

The previous

Town won 1-0 at Sincil Bank back in September, a Macauley Bonne goal on the half-hour proving enough for Paul Cook's side that afternoon.

What the bookies say

Despite Lincoln's fine win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, they aren't fancied by the bookies to get much out of tonight's clash - even a draw! As you might expect, Town are odds-on with most bookies.

TOWN WIN: 3/5: LINCOLN WIN: 9/2: THE DRAW: 3/1

The front of Lincoln Cathedral is bathed in light at sunset. Picture date: Monday March 8, 2021.

Lincoln Cathedral, once the tallest building in the world. - Credit: PA

Did you know?

Lincoln cathedral was once the tallest building in the world?

Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza was the world’s tallest man-made structure for thousands of years, until it was finally surpassed by Lincoln Cathedral, reaching just short of 160 metres tall when an expansion was completed in 1311.

The cathedral then held the record until its spire collapsed nearly two and a half centuries later in 1549.