Imps journey to Hereford
Lincoln make the 300-mile round trip to Hereford on Saturday looking for a positive result that will help in their quest to distance themselves from the relegation zone, which has crept up on them again after losing at Stockport in midweek.
The Imps are without an away since beating Dartford 4-2 in early December and have only registered one victory in their last 10 games, with boss David Holdsworth coming under increasing pressure again to turn around their fortunes. He could have Mo Fofana back in the squad for the first time since the Imps' FA Cup defeat at Mansfield, although he will probably at best only make the bench as he is still trying to get up to speed on the fitness front.
Jake Sheridan sits out the second of a three-game ban, while Gary Mills and Rob Duffy remain on the sidelines. Another who will not be involved is striker Bradley Barraclough, who became the latest Lincoln player to have his contract ended early, just weeks after Gainsborough Trinity had a cash bid turned down for him. Quite why the club turned down a financial offer only to let the player leave on a free just weeks later, presumably with a small pay-off, is a question that needs answering and quick. Holdsworth has distanced himself from the decision, but he must have known that the player was not in his thoughts when the bid was tabled from Trinity and could have told the board to accept the offer there and then. Barraclough came back to City after his loan spell ended and played a paltry 45 minutes in around six weeks' of football before being told he could leave to 'future his career elsewhere' and duly joined Trinity.
Another player to be playing his football away from the Bank is rising star Karl Cunningham, who has been allowed to join Lincoln United on loan, following on from his spell with Goole AFC earlier in the campaign. Whether Cunningham will ever been seen again in a City shirt is open to debate, but the chances are decreasing by the week. Lincoln have also farmed out some of their second-year scholars this week to local clubs in order to gain some 'match experience' and presumably not to get used to life away from the club. Aaran Rice will link up with Cunningham at Ashby Avenue, Ryan Leggett and Rob Taylor have joined Boston Town, Luke Weaver has gone to Lincoln Moorlands Railway, Sleaford have taken Will Rawdon for a second spell and goalkeeper Ollie Pannell will see out the season with Heanor Town.
Back to the Hereford clash and City have a decent record at Edgar Street, winning on their last visit thanks to a Delroy Facey goal, and have actually recorded five wins from their last 10 journeys there. There may be recall for leading scorer Jamie Taylor, with the 10-goal man expected to replace Colin Larkin, the man responsible for the penalty miss at Stockport in midweek, while Nicky Nicolau will be pushing for a starting XI berth, with Adam Smith's place in the side surely under threat after a series of poor performances. Craig Hobson will also be recalled to the squad after being forced to sit out the midweek defeat at Edgeley Park against his current employers.
The Bulls suffered their first defeat in seven games on Tuesday night, losing 1-0 at home to Wrexham, but they have not triumphed at home since beating Luton by the same score on November 6, a run of seven games. Hereford manager Martin Foyle is expected to name an unchanged squad for the visit of the Imps, with Michael Townsend the only absentee with a calf injury.
Games are running out for Lincoln and they desperately need to start picking up some points and give themselves some breathing space otherwise the next few weeks could become increasingly comfortable for all associated with the club.