The second round of the EFL Cup takes place this week, with thirteen Premier League sides entering the fray. This gives the opportunity for some major upsets.
Both Norwich City and Crystal Palace have fallen at League Two sized hurdles already. So first tier giants Everton will be cautious of joining that list, when they travel notorious giant-killers Lincoln City.
Story behind the game
Lincoln will be looking to spring a surprise and get back to winning ways, with Danny Cowley's side having lost their last two Sky Bet League One games. A midweek 2-1 loss to MK Dons was quickly followed by a defeat of the same scoreline to Doncaster Rovers last weekend.
Meanwhile, Marco Silva's Everton are also hoping to put recent results behind them. A 2-0 humbling by newly promoted Aston Villa means the Blue half of Merseyside have scored just once in their three games. So they will be out for blood as huge favourites in this tie.
Despite being worlds apart in the football pyramid, these two sides have met as recently as January of this year. The FA Cup third round saw them face off at Goodison Park, with the game being much tighter than what many would've expected. Everton had grabbed two early goals from Ademola Lookman and Bernard. But the then League Two side fought back through Michael Bostwick, causing a tense finish, before the homes sides eventual victory.
Lincoln will therefore be looking for revenge, hoping that they can go one better this time around and turn a good performance into a result. Whilst Everton will want to improve on their recent poor showings in the domestic cup competitions.
Cowley remains without key midfielders in Lee Frecklington and Tom Pett, who are getting closer to fitness, furthermore, youngster Ellis Chapman may be out with food poisoning. Changes may also be expected, with just a two day break before Lincoln face their next league game in Fleetwood Town.
Everton will be without summer signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin, who has been ruled out for eight weeks with a thigh injury. He will join fellow addition Fabian Delph, who is yet to play competitively for this new club. Otherwise Silva intends to name a strong squad.
(4-2-3-1) Smith, Lewis, Bolger, Shackell, Toffolo, Bostwick, Morrell, Grant, Payne, Andrade, Akinde
(4-2-3-1) Pickford, Sidibe, Holgate, Keane, Digne, Davies, Schneiderlin, Walcott, Iwobi, Bernard, Kean
Cian Bolger v Moise Kean
Imps centre-back Cian Bolger will have felt hard done by when he was dropped to the bench a week ago, having kept four clean sheets in four games.
Since then, Lincoln have conceded four goals in two defeats. So the Irishman may be recalled tonight, and will have the task of handling one of the hottest prospects in world football. 19-year-old Moise Kean could get his first start in English football at Sincil Bank, which will be a huge change from his last – where he lined up alongside Paulo Dybala in a loss to Sampdoria.
Bruno Andrade v Djibril Sidibe
Lincoln's tricky Portuguese winger Bruno Andrade will be looking to make just his second start of the season tonight. He started when these sides met in January, and will face a different challenge at right-back this time around. The Premier League side could hand a debut to summer signing Djibril Sidibe following his move from AS Monaco, and he will be looking to prove himself against someone who likes to take players on.
What the managers have said
Lincoln boss Danny Cowley spoke to the club's media, insisting that his team will have learned from their previous match against Everton. He said:
“When we went to Goodison Park last January, we felt we probably showed them too much respect in the early phase of the game.”
“We allowed them to find a rhythm and get control, so we want to try to learn from that.
“It's a mountain we'll have to climb, so we'll do it stage by stage.”
Meanwhile, Marco Silva told journalist at the club's press conference that he intends to take the competition seriously, and not play a weaken side like many top clubs do. He said:
“Lincoln is a team we know very well, they know us as well.”
“We have maximum ambition to play this competition. We have full respect of our opponents.
“But we want to do something special in both cups. We won't make rotation just to use rotation, we will use the best eleven for the match.”