Bradford City travel to Lincolnshire for the return leg of what looks likely to be a Christmas tradition should these two teams keep pace with one another in the footballing pyramid.
Like Bradford City, Peter Jackson’s men started this season with a lot of expectation but their start to the year was fairly average with many thinking that the overconfident Imps might have counted their chickens slightly too early.
However, as Jacko’s players have clicked so their performances have improved. They still find themselves slap bang in the middle of the table but in a division as competitive as League Two, they might be 12th but that’s 4 points off the playoffs and 6 from the automatic promotion places.
That means that the 6 points from their last two games has brought them closer to contention. Unfortunately the Bantams are suffering something of a crisis, particularly in front of goal, in recent weeks having now gone 4 games (in all competitions) without a win.
The Christmas period offers up some difficult fixtures for Stuart McCall and his men but it is to be hoped that as his players return to fitness that they can begin to recapture some form and take a substantial number of points from those on offer.
Two home games, one away, let’s hope that we can emulate last season’s performance at Sincil Bank where we came home with all three points following a 2-1 victory through goals from Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu and Joe Colbeck.
Stuart McCall, talking to the Telegraph & Argus, ‘both Lincoln games were probably my best moments of last season, especially the win there.
To go away on a Friday night and take over a thousand fans was great. We`d had a couple of okay results but we needed a win at the time and it was a really good victory.
Then to beat them at home again on Boxing Day was special in its own way.
As soon as Chester was over last week, we put that to bed and straight away our minds were focused on Lincoln.
There are only a few who remember what it was like last season but they all had good games. I remember Omar`s fantastic run down the left and cutback for our first goal and it was also one of Thorney`s first games for us after his injury.
We know we`ll be backed by a great following again as we have been all season and it`s a nice place to go.
Lincoln know how we play; we go away to attack and to score goals. It should be an entertaining game and hopefully we can bring back the rewards that our last away game against Brentford deserved but didn`t get in the end.
Jacko`s got them back on track and I`m glad he`s turned it round after a sticky start. Naturally I don`t want them to carry it on this afternoon but afterwards I will wish him all the best because he`s come through a lot.
This game is all about confidence and when you`re winning games you seem to go a yard quicker or grow an inch taller. But our confidence is good at the moment.
We`ve only picked up two points from nine but the last two performances weren`t poor ones. So we will go to Lincoln in a positive mood.’
Lincoln City Team News:
Lincoln striker Ben Wright faces a late test after straining his hamstring during the 1-0 win over Notts County.
Dany N’Guessan is ready to step in but defender Frank Sinclair will be on the bench as he returns from a back injury.
Player to watch: Adrian Patulea
One of the most improbable tales of the season is that surrounding the signing of Adrian Patulea by Lincoln City. However, since he convinced Jacko to gamble on him by running around the training group with his wife on his shoulders he has more than repaid the trust placed in him netting 7 times from 16 appearances. He’ll have to be watched.
Bradford City Team News:
Although Lee Bullock and Dean Furman have stepped up their training they are unlikely to feature as Stuart McCall is anticipated to keep faith with most of the side that drew 0-0 with Chester at the weekend.
The only anticipated change comes up front where Peter Thorne may return after recovering from his shoulder injury. He was fit enough to be on the bench, but not played on Saturday so hopefully a few more days will have done the trick.
Player to watch: Omar Daley
A quiet game on Saturday where he threatened to change the game might be a good foundation for the game at Sincil Bank. Was in blistering form last season as he created the opening goal for the now-departed Dave. Hopefully he’ll enjoy Lincolnshire again tomorrow!
Morecambe on Sunday at Valley Parade