The new EFL season is now well and truly underway after an action-packed opening weekend.
In EFL League One, there were goals aplenty, with managers and fans alike getting to see just how well their squads have adjusted to the restart.
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton could hand a first start to midfielder Lewis Fiorini after his debut off the bench in midweek. However fellow new signings Chris Maguire and Dan Nlundulu will have to wait for their first appearance as they recover from their respective injuries. Centre-back Lewis Montsma is also a doubt after going off injured in the EFL Cup.
In the other camp, Fleetwood manager Simon Graysonmay give Callum Camps a first league outing of the season after his return from injury in midweek. Darnell Johnson could be handed his debut after his summer arrival, whilst Callum Morton is likely to start against the club he spent last season on-loan at.
(4-3-3) Griffiths, Poole, Jackson, Melbourne, Edun, McGrandles, Bridcutt, Bishop, Adelakun, Hopper, Bramall.
(3-4-3) Cairns, Clarke, Hill, Andrew, Halliday, Camps, Rossiter, Clark, Morris, Morton, Garner.
Promotion candidates Lincoln come into the game off the back of two away draws so far. The second of which resulted in a penalty shootout loss to Shrewsbury Town. Their season got off to a perfect start against Gillingham with a goal inside four minutes from talisman Tayo Edun, but an equaliser from Danny Lloyd meant that they only left with a single point. However the Imps will be in front of a packed Sincil Bank for the first time in 17 months on Saturday, which will surely be a huge boost for them.
Meanwhile, Fleetwood will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat to start the campaign. A disappointing 1-0 loss to Portsmouth was how it began, in a game that they definitely deserved at least a point from. That was then followed up by a narrow defeat to a strong Stoke Cityteam in the cup, where they certainly made a good account of themselves, even having more possession than their EFL Championship opponents. So they will be hoping that they can turn those positive performances into a positive result on Saturday.
Ones to watch
Out of Lincoln’s seven summer signings so far, the arrival of Ipswich Town midfielder Teddy Bishop has caused the most excitement amongst fans. Bishop has had somewhat of an injury disrupted career in Suffolk, but moving to a new club for the first time could help spark that talent that he knows he possesses. He came off the bench against Gillingham, before starting against Shrewsbury, where he scored a sublime long-range effort. He’ll be aiming for another important contribution if he starts against Fleetwood.
Fleetwood’s loan signing from West Bromwich Albion will be familiar with this division, having spent last season at none other than Lincoln. Morton had a promising start to his City spell, scoring against Bradford City before picking up an unfortunate shoulder injury that ruled him out for five months. He made a scoring return against his current employers Fleetwood, and also bagged against Sunderland before the season was up. He will now be aiming to stay injury free and prove himself to not only his current club, but also his former one.
These sides have met on five occasions, with Town winning twice to Lincoln’s once. Their last meeting in February ended in a 2-1 win for the Cod Army, with the Sincil Bank encounter ending goalless earlier in the season. Lincoln’s solitary win came two years ago, when a Tyler Walker brace guided them to victory. This fixture has only been won once by the side playing away, which occurred in their first matchup back in 2011, when a hat-trick from a certain Jamie Vardysaw Fleetwood claim the points on their way to the National League title. So they’ll be hoping for something similar here to get their season started.
For fans that can’t attend the game for whatever reason, the match will be available to stream on both club websites on their iFollow pages for those outside of the UK. The highlights will likely available by the end of the day.
What the managers have said
Lincoln manager Michael Appleton spoke to the media ahead of the game, knowing his team will have to be sharp in order to deal with their opponents. He said:
“Fleetwood can be very dangerous on the counter-attack and are hard to play against.
"If we’re not patient and don’t use the ball wisely it could be a frustrating day.
“Certain football grounds can give the players an edge and I expect our supporters to do the same tomorrow.”
“They’ve got some good attacking players, and like to move the ball from the back.
“I don’t think the style of play will have altered too much from what Michael (Appleton) has done throughout his career, and recently at Lincoln because it’s been successful, so why would you change it?
“We have to remain positive and take the lessons learned (from their last two games) into our game against Lincoln at the weekend.”