May 19, 2021 9.58 am This story is over 14 months old

Imps without first choice keeper for Sunderland game after head injury

An emergency loan has been brought in

Lincoln City have been dealt a major injury blow ahead of their play-off semi-final with Sunderland, with goalkeeper Alex Palmer suffering a head injury in training.

The West Brom loanee has been in fine form for the Imps this season, keeping 21 clean sheets in all competitions as a mainstay in Lincoln’s team.

Due to concussion protocol following his injury, Lincoln have been given permission to sign another goalkeeper on emergency loan ahead of the game.

England under-21 international Josef Bursik has joined the club from Stoke City and will be available for selection for the game on Wednesday.

Bursik has already played for Doncaster Rovers and Peterborough United at League One level, and also has seven clean sheets in 15 appearances for Stoke in the Championship.

The Imps will face Sunderland in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final at the LNER Stadium on Wednesday, kicking off at 6pm.

It will be the first time in 438 days that Lincoln City fans are inside the stadium at Sincil Bank, with 3,145 fans expected to be in attendance.

Fans will be able to watch the likes of Brennan Johnson, Morgan Rogers and Conor McGrandles for the first time in Imps shirts, and other than Palmer there appears to be a clean bill of health for Lincoln.

Captain Liam Bridcutt got some match fitness before the end of the regular season after his injury worries, as did player of the season Jorge Grant, and both will be available for selection.

The return fixture will be played at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, and the winner over the two legs will go to Wembley for the play-off final on Sunday, May 30.

The victor will face either Oxford United or Blackpool, who played their first leg at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night, with the visitors winning 3-0.