April 9, 2021 10.54 am This story is over 13 months old

Imps’ manager prepares for first game after COVID outbreak

Lincoln host Blackpool on Saturday

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton is looking forward to the return to action against his former club Blackpool on Saturday after a coronavirus outbreak at the club saw the last two matches postponed.

The League One club previously had to close their training ground and the matches against MK Dons and Charlton were postponed due to “a number of players and staff testing positive for COVID-19″.

Saturday’s match will see sixth-placed Lincoln host Blackpool, with the Seasiders unbeaten in 13 league games, but only one point and one place above the Imps in the League One table.

Appleton said in his press conference on Friday: “No-one’s feeling the effects in terms of being unwell, but obviously they’re feeling the effects of being a little bit de-conditioned and not quite at it as you can probably imagine, but apart from that we’re okay.

“It’s been pretty frustrating. I’m not the only manager who’s had to experience this this season. It’s been a difficult period. Results haven’t been quite what we want or expect, but there’s been some decent performances in there.”

Thursday’s training session was the first time Appleton has had with his players in two weeks. He said it was a decent and lively session and that there was a real sense of ‘can’t wait to get back out on the pitch’.

He added: “I think the one thing for sure is the first few games I’m probably going too have to go at it with the mentality of very similar to like a pre-season.

“It might be that we have to use our full quota of subs for the first few games just to make sure that we are in decent shape going into the last five or six games.

“I might have to make a decision based on future games rather than the game in front of me, and maybe take that risk to see the bigger risk down the line being less of a risk.

Lincoln will be hoping to get their promotion campaign back on track after a run of five games without a win.

Appleton knows his former side Blackpool, who he managed between November 2012 to January 13, will be tough opponents, but having Joe Walsh and Max Sanders ready and available to be in the squad has given him a big boost.

He said: “I think they are 13 or so unbeaten in the league, we’re aware of that and what their strengths are.

“They’ll be mindful of the fact that we’ve got a lot of attacking players as well in group and one or two of them are ready and available to play again tomorrow (Saturday) that hasn’t been the case in the previous four or five games.

Meanwhile, Tom Hopper and Jorge Grant are still a good few weeks away from being available, Appleton added.

See the full press conference below: