Match Preview: Barnet v Lincoln City
A welcome return to The Hive in Edgware, London, is just around the corner for the Mighty Imps and it sure looks like it's going to be yet another Impvasion! At the time of writing, around 1,500 tickets have been sold to Lincoln City fans, far eclipsing the 1,390 Coventry City took to North London earlier in the season. This just goes to show how the steamroller/bandwagon/Lincoln Loco, call it what you will, keeps getting bigger and bigger; testament to the efforts of one and all, not least the influence of the Cowley brothers. Without doubt, this will be the biggest number of away fans I will have seen at a Barnet game, and I have been a number of times to either Barnet or Edgware over the years. We have already played them at home this season, gaining a 2-1 win back in late September, goals from Ollie Palmer, Harry Anderson putting City 2-0 up at half-time before a 62nd minute reply by Coulthirst made for a few nail-biting moments. Saturday's game will be our first visit to their new ground for in the Football League; we played there twice in the National League 1-1 in September 2013 with Jon Nolan scoring a 95th minute equaliser and then we won the following year, Burrow and Bencherif again helping us to a 2-0 half-time lead before Marsh-Brown reduced the arrears in the 56th minute.
Our record at Barnet is pretty good recently as we have lost once there in our last four visits (4-2 in February 2011) winning two and drawing one of the others. They currently sit in bottom spot in League Two and are in danger of being relegated out of the Football League for a third time although they have recently appointed Graham Westley as their new head coach and his first game in charge is against us. You may recall that we came very close to signing Simeon Akinola in August but were thwarted by time constraints. I for one don't think we should go down that avenue again, especially as our three forwards are scoring quite regularly. That's not to say that we shouldn't sign another striker, just in case, I'm just saying we can be a little more choosey now. Barnet have won 3, drawn 3 and lost 7 games at The Hive this season, scoring 11 and conceding 16. They have also lost their last five games since beating Morecambe 2-1 at home on 16 December.
I would guess that Danny Cowley may well start with the same eleven which began the Notts County home game, meaning no place yet for James Wilson. My only doubt is the availability again of Harry Anderson and it would not surprise me at all if he were to be recalled to the starting line-up. Who would drop out, though? For that reason alone, I am going to stick my neck out and suggest Anderson will take his place on the bench and both Danny Rowe and Jordan Williams starting.
I predict a good away win for this game with City scoring three without reply to send the hordes of travelling fans ecstatic for the third successive time at The Hive.
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City FC for the photographs.