Michael Appleton has described himself as “one of the fortunate ones” after his testicular cancer treatment was successful, and is now looking forward to getting Lincoln City’s season underway this weekend.
The Imps play their first competitive game of the 2021/22 season on Saturday, as they travel to Gillingham in League One, a week before their first home game of the campaign against Fleetwood Town.
Lincoln City finished in 5th place last season, beating Sunderland in the play-off semi-finals before an agonising 2-1 defeat at Wembley against Blackpool in the final, missing out on Championship promotion.
The team’s pre-season schedule was dealt a blow when manager Michael Appleton took a break from duties to undergo an operation, after a tumour was identified as testicular cancer.
After a successful operation, the 45-year-old returned to work and continued the club’s pre-season preparations on July 26.
During his pre-match press conference for the Gillingham game, Appleton told BBC Radio Lincolnshire of his excitement to be back with the players and back in the swing of things.
“I’m doing very well. The operation was successful and I consider myself very lucky to have caught the problem at a very early stage. Hopefully it is all dealt with now and I can be one of the fortunate ones.
“I’ve been back working on the training pitch for a couple of weeks, I’m really looking forward to getting back to what some people say I do best!”
The Imps will be without defender Joe Walsh, loan signings Dan Nlundulu and Lewis Fiorini, as well as newly instated number 10 Chris Maguire, all of which are sidelined through injury.
There could be a chance for debuts for the likes of Josh Griffiths, Ted Bishop, Hakeeb Adelakun and Lasse Sorensen, though.
Michael continued: “Preparation has been tough, both on the training field and in recruitment, it’s like spinning plates at times.
“Having said that, we’ve got a group that are very fit, a young group of players that are more than capable.”
The players held a meet and greet at Lincoln City’s club shop inside the Waterside Shopping Centre in the city on Thursday, allowing fans to get pictures and autographs from some of their favourite players.
Lincoln City face Gillingham in the first game of the League One season at the Priestfield Stadium, kicking off at 3pm.