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First Team Management

Michael Appleton - First Team Manager - Sponsored by James Harbridge


Born in Salford, Greater Manchester, Michael Appleton started his playing career at Manchester United under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, signing professionally for the Red Devils in 1994. However, it was in a spell on loan with The Imps when the combative midfielder made his Football League debut, taking on Chester City in Division Three in September 1995, the first of five appearances for City in his temporary stint at Sincil Bank.

Almost a year later, Michael made his debut for his parent club, a 2-1 win in the League Cup against Swindon Town, before following that up in the next round against Leicester City.

However, his future would then lie away from Manchester United, taking in a loan spell at Grimsby before moving permanently to Preston North End. Michael would feature over 100 times for North End which earned him a move to West Bromwich Albion. His playing career was cut short through injury and it led to an immediate move into coaching.

Michael cut his coaching teeth with West Bromwich Albion’s academy before stepping into management roles at Portsmouth, Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers. A move to Oxford United in 2014 followed where he had his most successful management period to date winning automatic promotion to the third tier with The U’s. They were also twice runners up in the EFL Trophy in a three-year spell at the Kassam Stadium which led to a move to former Premier League champions Leicester City as assistant manager.

Following the departure of Craig Shakespeare, Appleton stepped into the breach as caretaker for two games, winning both. Before he left the club following a restructure behind the scenes by incoming manager, Claude Puel.

Michael’s career then brought a return to The Hawthorns in the summer of 2019, as under 23 Manager at West Brom, a role which he held until moving to Sincil Bank as First Team Manager in late September 2019.

The Imps finished the 2019/20 season in 16th position securing their League One status for the 2020/21 season, which will be Appleton’s first full season in charge at LNER stadium.

David Kerslake - Assistant Manager - Sponsored by James Harbridge


The 53-year-old is a vastly experienced coach, and arrived at Sincil Bank having spent a short period of time as West Bromwich Albion Academy's Head of Coaching, working alongside Michael Appleton.

Kerslake has held numerous roles as Assistant Manager across the divisions, with one of his first roles beginning in 2006, after being named Colin Calderwood's Assistant at Nottingham Forest. A role which David held for two years.

The former Tottenham Hotspur defender then joined Malky Mackay as his Assistant Manager at Watford in 2009, before joining the Scotsman at Cardiff City as their number two in 2011.

The former England youth international linked with Mackay once again at Wigan Athletic in the 2014/15 season, before joining fellow former Spurs team mate Justin Edinburgh as his number two at Gillingham and Northampton Town.