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Preview: Emirates FA Cup First Round

10 November 2018

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The Imps welcome Northampton Town in the Emirates FA Cup First Round at Sincil Bank today, in the first FA Cup fixture at home since the win over Brighton & Hove Albion in 2017.

Matt Green scored the only goal of the game three minutes into the second half, picking up Lincoln’s first three points of the season on the opening day.

City are currently at the top of the SkyBet League Two table with 36 points to their name following 11 wins and three draws from their opening 17 fixtures. 

Danny Cowley’s side hosted Forest Green Rovers last Saturday picking up another set of three points in style. John Akinde opened the scoring at Sincil Bank after just eight minutes with a well taken lobbed shot over on-loan Rovers goalkeeper, Robert Sánchez. 

Akinde’s strike was a landmark goal for the Imps, as it proved to be Lincoln’s 4000th home league goal. The club’s 3000th league goal had been scored from the spot by George Shipley against Fulham in September 1981.

Former Birmingham City youngster Reece Brown equalised for the visitors just four minutes after the Imps forward’s goal.

However, Lincoln’s on-loan wide man Kellan Gordon made an instant impact coming off the bench and scoring City’s winner in the 72nd minute. This was the 20-year-old’s first goal for the club since his arrival from Derby County.

Recent Form

Northampton have showed impressed form recently, suffering just one defeat from their previous nine fixtures in all competitions. Despite this Keith Curle’s side are currently 16th in the SkyBet League Two table. 

Town’s last defeat came against MK Dons last month when they lost 1-0 after Kieran Agard broke the deadlock a minute before half time.

Since then The Cobblers have not lost a game, scoring a total of 11 goals in all competitions. Five of which came against struggling Macclesfield Town at the end of October, Matt Crooks bagged a first half hat-trick with Daniel Powell also finding the back of the net in the 34th minute. Aaaron Pierre added the side’s fifth three minutes into added time.

On Tuesday night, Northampton hosted Fulham’s U21 side in the Checkatrade Trophy where they came out on top with a comfortable 2-0 victory. Pierre was on the scoresheet for the third time this season, scoring against his former academy side. 25-year-old Sam Hoskins added the Cobblers’ second just three minutes later in the 20th minute. 

Last six league games: DWLWWW

League position: 16th 

Manager’s comments

Cobblers boss Keith Curle says he is expecting a very tough test as his side travel to Sincil Bank for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup first round tie against Danny Cowley’s Lincoln City.

The 54-year-old who made a £500,000 move to FA Cup Holders Wimbledon in 1988 said: “Ultimately, we are playing the team top of the division and you only get there on merit. Lincoln are going well but we won’t approach the game any differently and our attention to detail will be exactly the same.

“We are trying to evolve into a team that can play free flowing attacking football but at the minute we are still in the stage of putting down starting points and a foundation to give us that platform.

“We are trying to create a culture inside the changing room, we want a squad mentality and it was good to give some more players game time on Tuesday. I think we had ten players unavailable on Tuesday through injury and suspension but that number is dwindling.” 

Previous Meetings

Danny Cowley’s side won the opening day clash against Northampton back in August this year. As previously discussed, Matt Green was the only goal scorer on the day as the Imps picked up three points at the PTS Academy Stadium to kick off their 2018/19 campaign. 

The last time the pair met in League Two prior to this season was when the Imps travelled to Northampton in January 2011. It was an unfortunate trip for City as they lost 2-1 with Josh O’Keefe scoring Lincoln’s only goal, Billy Mckay and John Johnson were the Cobblers’ goal scorers seven years ago.

One to Watch – Kevin van Veen

With five league goals and three assists this season, Dutch forward Kevin van Veen is the man to watch for the Cobblers this Saturday. Imps fans may remember the 27-year-old for his three-year spell with local rivals, Scunthorpe United. 

van Veen was part of the PSV youth setup early in his career, however he never featured in the first team. Before turning professional the forward worked as a plasterer for his friend’s business. He signed for FC Oss in July 2014 on a one-year deal. 

In the 2015 January transfer window, van Veen moved to England signing for Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee. He made his debut against Oldham Athletic in February 2015 before scoring his first goal for the Iron a week later, chipping Swindon Town goalkeeper Wes Foderingham in a 3-1 win.

A year after arriving at Glanford Park the Dutch striker was sent on loan to SC Cambuur for the remainder of the 2015/16 season. He scored one goal in 12 appearances.

In January 2018, van Veen was on the move again signing for Northampton Town. The 27-year-old has made 16 appearances for the Cobblers this season in the SkyBet League Two. He has also scored in his only Checkatrade Trophy appearance this season against Oxford United two months ago.

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