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13 February 2020

Michael Appleton will reassess his Imps squad in training today following back to back weekday games at LNER Stadium.

The City boss explained how he will see which players are fresh and ready for Saturday’s trip to Accrington Stanley, especially with Joe Morrell’s absence due to suspension.

“We have a couple of knocks and bruises so I will know more today,” said Appleton.

“We had back to back games so you tend to get them with that, we will reassess the squad today and see who is available to be fresh and ready for Saturday.”

Michael added comments about Morrell who will miss the Imps’ next three games after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season: “It happened to me quite a lot when I was playing. Joe has gone into the last few games knowing a mistimed tackle will cost him a few games, but it is part of the parcel.

“He will miss the Accrington and Gillingham game and then we don’t have one the following week so we will manage it right. I will make sure he gets breathing space during this time because he has played a lot of games.

“People are chomping at the bit to play and we have a good mix and balance of left and right siders as well as youth and experienced heads. Going forward it will be important to stay true to what we are about and be as honest as possible.”

The City boss went on to speak about how he manages his squad during busy periods of the season: “We will keep the variety in the training and have some squad games. We have Saturday to Saturday fixtures now, so we won’t worry about the midweek games.

“In the past, we have played a couple of Premier League clubs as well as local clubs in friendlies to keep the squad fresh.

“We always split the group in training and that is how it works at every football club in the country. We have good coaches here and we split the groups up regularly because you can’t do anything worthwhile as a big group of 25.”

Appleton discussed his vision for the team going forward, explaining how signing versatile players will be important for the club.

“I think the two biggest things we can do is create the best squad possible and then our fans can make the place as intimidating as possible, they’ve done that a lot this season, so they also play a major part,” said Michael.

“If we are going to build a squad for the future which is competitive we will be looking for players who can play more than one position, it is very important to achieve that. Tayo (Edun) is good because he can play in midfield or at left-back as well as on the wing.

“TJ (Eyoma) was the sixth loan we brought in, so we wanted to make sure we covered all bases because we weren’t sure what Bozzy’s (Michael Bostwick) recovery was going to be once the window had closed. To get someone in on loan like TJ, with the qualities he’s got is a good move for the club.”

Michael finished by looking towards Saturday’s trip to Crown Ground: “I know John (Coleman) well and I mean this in the best way possible, it isn’t a great place to go and visit so they make the environment as difficult as they can.

“We will go into it knowing and thinking it is the most difficult game of the season. We are aware they have some good players.

“They got a good win midweek and their manager thrives on being the type of club they are, their chairman and owner do the same. They make it difficult for teams playing them at their place so it will be a tough game on Saturday.

“I have seen the weather will be a bit lively, so we will see what the next 48 hours bring, it will come down to who makes the least mistakes on the day. We have played on difficult pitches before so we will be sensible with how we play.”

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