Imps eye York boost after ‘tough week’

Lincoln City manager David Holdsworth is looking forward to a tough game with York

As the sporting world comes to terms with Wales manager Gary Speed’s demise, Lincoln City are sharing that pain on very real terms.

Manager David Holdsworth today revealed three of the club’s players are battling personal losses of their own, ahead of Tuesday’s Blue Square Bet Premier league game away to York City.

Speaking at Sincil Bank, he said: “It was a very tough week for three of my players. Two lost close relatives and one lost an immediate member of his family.

“They will get the club’s unconditional support. The boys have shown amazing character and the knowledge they have of me, is that they will get my support as a human being first and foremost.”

42-year-old Speed was found dead at his Chester home yesterday, and Holdsworth, who has played and managed against the former Leeds United star, admitted it was a “huge loss” for football.

He said: “Gary was a fantastic man and I’m sure the tributes will go on and be endless given the situation. On behalf of the club we can only pass on our sympathies to Gary’s family.

“He was a model professional and an all-round good human being.”

The upcoming game may well take an emotional backseat, but with last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Ebbsfleet United providing a timely boost to City’s climb up the safety ladder, Holdsworth is keen for the club’s on-field efforts to continue providing the goods.

18th-placed City face a York side that are 13 spots above them in the table and who are unbeaten in their last nine league games.

Holdsworth added: “We respect York of course. They are one of the high fliers in the league and will certainly be up there and thereabouts in the season.

“But we’ll go out there and put a side in that can compete, given the formation that we feel they’ll adopt. We’ve had a winning side and you don’t feel like changing that do you?”

Sam Smith and Jean-Francois Christophe will look to make the squad following their recent injuries.

Meanwhile regular skipper Josh Gowling’s return against Ebbsfleet – alebit minus the armband – means Holdsworth has a near full strength lineup to choose from.

He added: “The foundation of a good team is a good solid base, and I think (goalkeeper) Paul Farman had a really good game.

“In front of him was arguably the strongest defence in the league, but they can only prove that by going out there and being solid.

“At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be too many injuries, which is great. We can have a good day’s training and look forward to a tough game at York.”