Meet Town's opposition: Injury woes, like Lincoln buses - and why it's the Imps!
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town entertain Lincoln City at Portman Road tonight, MIKE BACON takes a look at Town's opponents.
IMPS INJURY WOES
Lincoln City are tonight's visitors to Portman Road, Michael Appleton's side currently sitting in third place in League One.
However, their recent form is a little up and down, having won just two of their last seven League One fixtures - against Wigan and Crewe. They sit in ninth place in the 'last six-game' form guide - three places below Town.
They are beginning to mount up with injuries. Winger Harry Anderson and midfielder Max Sanders will miss the trip to Suffolk. They already have influential trio Joe Walsh, Liam Bridcutt and Jorge Grant out.
Grant got the only goal when the two sides last met, in October.
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Fixtures between Ipswich and Lincoln used to be as rare as hen's teeth. Not any more. Since January 2017 the teams have met seven times.
Indeed, before 2017 the last time the two sides had met was back in 1961, as Town headed towards winning the then Second Division Championship - winning the First Division Championship a year later.
In 2017 the two teams became very much acquainted - thanks to an FA Cup third round clash.
Lincoln, then a non-league side managed by the Cowley brothers, Danny and Nicky, pulled off one of the great FA Cup shocks of many a season, against the Championship Blues by, firstly drawing at Portman Road 2-2 then, in front of live BBC cameras, pulling off a 1-0 victory to humiliate Mick McCarthy's side.
It left Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher, who was working for BBC that night, incandescent with fury.
"I can't remember ever being so embarrassed and humiliated as an Ipswich fan," he told BBC Radio 5 live. "Ipswich lost the wrong way, not enough fight, not enough passion."
As the Imps made their way up the pyramid and Town made their way down, the pair met in the FA Cup again in 2019, with Town winning 1-0 after a replay.
Three League One encounters since have seen Town win one and Lincoln two, and you do have to go back to September 11, 1954 to find the last (and only) time Lincoln have won at Portman Road in league or cup - 2-1 in a Division Two clash.
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton has been manager at Sincil Bank, aka LNER Stadium, since 2019, replacing Danny Cowley.
Appleton began his professional career at Manchester United, operating as a midfielder, in a career that was cut short by a serious knee injury.
He tore his posterior cruciate ligament in training while at West Brom. His surgeon, Medhat Mohamed El-Safty, decided incorrectly that he needed an operation.
Appleton worked to recover from it but he never could. He retired at 27. He sued El-Safty and won £1.5million. Sir Alex Ferguson was one who testified in court on his behalf.
After a spell out of the game, Appleton got the job as caretaker manager of West Brom. Since then he has had moves to Portsmouth, Blackpool and Oxford among other clubs he has managed.
His current win ratio for Lincoln, from more than 70 games, is a very decent 45% and he has just signed a new four-year contract tying him to the club until 2025.
THE LAST TIME
Lincoln went top of League One after Jorge Grant's penalty sealed victory over Ipswich who finished the game with 10 men, the last time these two sides met.
It was at Sincil Bank back in October and Grant's penalty sealed the deal, dropping Town to fourth place.
Town ended the match with 10 men after former Lincoln midfielder Jon Nolan was sent off following a poor challenge on Harry Anderson, in added-time.
The Lincoln Imp is a grotesque on a wall inside Lincoln Cathedral and it has become the symbol of the city and the nickname of the football club. A legend tells of it being a creature sent to the cathedral by Satan, only to be turned into stone by an angel.