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"We're really, really close"

9 January 2020

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Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Shrewsbury Town, Michael Appleton spoke to the press about the game and the possibility of adding new faces to the squad before taking on Sam Ricketts’ side on Saturday.

Michael said talks are ongoing and he’s hopeful that some news will come to fruition by the end of the day, but naturally players coming in could mean that there are some going the other way too but the City boss admits that’s just the way it works from time to time.

“There’s lots of movement but in terms of things being finalised we’re really, really, really close on a couple so, I’m hopeful by the end of the day that we’ll have one or two across the line.

“All I’d say is that in the middle of the season as we are now, players that are coming into the building won’t be ones to necessarily just improve the squad, they’re coming in to improve the eleven.  I’ve never come across a successful team as a player or as a coach, that doesn’t have competition for places.

“I’m not expecting outgoings but that’s just the nature of the business and the January transfer window, if two or three come through the door then it tends to be some go the other way.”

Moving onto the game at the weekend, The Imps’ manager is expecting a similarly tight game to the one the teams played out the draw at LNER Stadium back in mid-October. Michael is aiming for his side to bounce back from a disappointing result against the Black Cats and begin to pick up the points on the road that some of the away performances have deserved.

“They’re very difficult to beat, they’ve got a really good structure to them. They have three centre halves who are big and strong, very athletic. They’ve got good delivery in wide areas and decent ability in the middle of the park with the likes of [Oliver] Norburn, they’re a good side. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult as we’re the away team and our away results are very different to our home form, but it’s an opportunity for our players to address what happened last week [V Sunderland].”

Michael continued: “I can come here and say we played very well in the second half, which we did, but we have to make sure we do that from the start. I think some of the away form in terms of performance has been pretty good and some of them have been better than the home games. I’d like to think the support we get at home, and create at home gives us a bit of an edge but it won’t be long before we address the situation that we’re winning more games away from home than we’re losing.”

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