Michael Appleton says the possibility of progression to the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy provides all the incentive his side need ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Bradford City.
The Imps have three points on the board after last week’s victory over Manchester United U21s, and a repeat result at the Utilita Energy Stadium would ensure a place in the next round.
He said: "It would be nice to progress and get it done as soon as possible, we then get a bit of a break before the Cambridge game on September 11.
"We're waiting on a few players to come back from knocks so having a little breather comes at a good time for us."
The Imps were beaten at Oxford United on Saturday, and Appleton does not want the absence of key players through injury to be used as an excuse.
He added: "The first 45 minutes cost us but we were much better in the second half, I don't want to make excuses and I think we could have done better than we did in the first half.
"We were more like us in the second half, threatening more and pushing them back a bit more - and the one thing you can always do as a player is run, you won't win any games if you're not prepared to work hard."