Lincoln City v West Ham United: match preview

Preview Percy is working around the clock as we enter into the Thursday/Sunday merry-go-round. We thought about resting him for one of our academy writers, this being the League Cup, but we don’t actually have any. So here is the old one’s look at Wednesday’s trip to Lincoln City...

Next up we join the third round of the League Cup where we will visit Lincoln City. Kick-off at what I will still call Sincil Bank is at 7:45pm and, should the scores be level after 90 minutes the match will go straight to kicks from the penalty mark. There's some hefty winds due over the next couple of days so, irrespective of the effect of the weather on the ground, stay safe on your journey.

So Lincoln then. My last visit to Sincil Bank came back in the 1990s. My then employer sent me up there for a week's course and stuck for something to do one evening I noted that the Imps were at home to Leyton Orient. The O's had a youngster called Darren Currie (son of Tony) on loan from us so I thought I would take the opportunity to cast an eye on the youngster, of whom good things were expected.

So I turned up on a cold, foggy night only to discover that the player was on the bench. Oh well, at least I was going to get a game in. Well sort of.

From the terraces, the fog meant that one could only see the near side of the pitch. I have no idea what the score was – and I suspect that the same went for the players. They did bring on Currie in the second half and stuck him out wide on the wing I couldn't see. Still I managed to push the match ticket through on expenses and I took the local pub quiz machine to the cleaners, so it wasn't all bad news.

The current Lincoln side qualified for this round of the competition with a 2-0 away win at Notts County. This was followed up by a win on spot kicks away at Sheffield United, prevailing 3-2 after a 0-0 draw.

In the league they have won three, drawn three and lost two of the eight played so far. It would have been nine played but, unusually for Division 3 (or League One as we must call it I suppose) their match against Oxford the other week was called off due to international call-ups.

Their last win came in the 3-0 defeat of Blackpool at home back on 26 August. Since then its been two 1-1 draws, away at Bristol Rovers and at home to Carlisle, and a defeat last weekend away at Portsmouth. This has left them in 13th place on 12 points.

They are managed by Irishman Mark Kennedy who became (at the time) the country's most expensive teenager in 1995 when moving between Millwall and Liverpool. Capped 34 times by the Republic, he ended his playing career at Ipswich moving into coaching in their youth system. Similar spells occurred at the academies of Man City and Wolves before he took his first managerial position with Macclesfield.

They say timing is everything in life - and signing for one of football's more impecunious clubs just before the Covid lockdown was probably proof of that.

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The Silkmen got relegated to the National League at the end of the Covid-affected season, partly as a result of a points deduction for finance-related breaches. Finding the offer of a new contract for the next season one that he could easily resist, Kennedy returned to potter around the Ipswich academy before joining former Hammer Lee Bowyer to act as his assistant at Birmingham City.

Kennedy returned to the hotseat at Lincoln in May 2022, guiding them to 11th place without ever really troubling the playoff or relegation areas of the table.

Daisy informs me that they brought in seven new players during the summer. Daisy tells me that the fee paid to Portsmouth for Reeco Hackett-Fairchild is likely to have been as low as £40,000, with the player being released due to lack of game time down on Portsea Island. The winger has netted twice in eight league appearances and earned his first international call-up for St Lucia, having got two in two at that level. He is an east Londoner having started out in Dagenham & Redbridge's youth system.

Their 'keeper is Dane Lukas Jensen, who arrived on a free having been released by Burnley. He spent three years at Turf Moor without bothering the first XI. He's featured in all eight league games so far, as well as the two League Cup matches so don't expect squad rotation here. Jensen saved two penalties in the last round.

One anomaly amongst the signings is that they have actually made their first signing of the winter window. Midfielder Jack Moylan will turn up on New Year's Day from Shelbourne, with the Irish season coming towards the business end as we speak. So he will have a bit of a break before signing.

On we move to the Wild and Wacky World of Association Football. Over at Chelsea, co-owner Behdad Eghbali was seen entering the changing room after their latest defeat. Boss Pochettino was quoted as saying that he had no problem with owners visiting changing rooms. "In fact, if any of them are available for selection next week they'll probably get a game".

Meanwhile, West Ham's legal team have been put on standby as Sheffield United got thumped 8-0 by the Geordies.

It is believed that the Blades are trying to work out precisely why Carlos Tevez was responsible for the defeat that will form part of their relegation at the end of this season. Details are sketchy but the 'Fairness In Football Unless It's Us Who Are Breaking The Rules' brigade are looking at the theory that, if we hadn't paid them all that money years back, they wouldn't have been able to waste it.

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Talking of bent clubs, we experienced the usual atrocious refereeing at Anfield where a home win without at least one intervention from a dubious official hasn't occurred since Everton left.

When you are on top you need to take your chances before they get their statutory penalty and that we failed to do, most spectacularly with Antonio's miss. Bowen's goal was a peach, of course, but just as we looked like getting back into the game the officials stepped in again, denying Bowen the clearest penalty you'll ever see.

Oh and memo to the BBC. Please could you tell your commentators to at least try not to sound so upset when Liverpool concede – like the refereeing at Anfield it's getting a wee bit obvious now.

On the injury front, we only have Cresswell's thigh injury to worry about. However, we can expect to see the usual rotation for this competition, with Fabianski starting and an outfield ten more akin to those that started against TSC than at Anfield.

Ok the prediction. Well this is a bit like last week where, on paper, there should be no contest but in practice all those little intangibles such as players having the games of their lives in front of a small but mostly partisan crowd could play a part.

The lack of extra time before penalties will encourage them to play a tight compact game and, as usual on these occasions, this will be all about attitude. I still have nightmares about that FA Cup tie away at AFC Wimbledon where a side turned up expecting a nice easy stroll in the park - only to get the thumping they thoroughly deserved.

I'd like to think that won't be the case this week and, on that basis, I will be placing the £2.50 I was going to send to PGMOL in an attempt to bring some honesty to affairs at Anfield on an away win. So Mr Winstone, please make it 2-1 to us if you will.

Enjoy the game!

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When last we met at Sincil Bank: Drew 1-1 (League Cup 3rd Round November 1982

This was the first year of the competition being sponsored so it was known as the Milk Cup at the time. Goddard's opener was cancelled out by Bell in front of a crowd of some 13,800, a couple of hundred more than attended the replay at the Boleyn. The replay took place nearly three weeks later due to international fixtures and the late postponement of the tie at a flooded Boleyn the week after that.

In the replay we took the lead against a side containing future Hammer Gary Strodder, after a rare Ray Stewart penalty miss, Stewart following up ‘keeper Felgate's save to make amends. Shipley's equaliser was as deserved as it was late, though it did take a late deflection off Sandy Clark. The match went into extra-time and with a second replay looming slated for the following night(!) Clark made amends by putting away an Alvin Martin knockdown from a corner with only 4 minutes left.

Referee: Josh Smith

Awarded a baffling penalty against Wolves in their 1-1 draw at Luton at the weekend. Really looking forward to the audio of that one if they have the bottle to share it.

Danger Man: Reeco Hackett-Fairchild

Joint top scorer with two this season but with the added spice of being a Redbridge boy to throw into the mix.

Percy & Daisy's Poser

Last time out we asked you of which Liverpool captain was it claimed that he once had a discussion with opponents regarding the possibility of them throwing a match for £50 a man?

Well done to Mrs Hermione Knee-Opera of Belhus who knew that the offending skipper was Emlyn Hughes who, got a decking from fellow Liverpool defender and benefit cheat Tommy Smith for raising the matter, according to the latter's autobiography.

This week we go slightly left field. Named after the song of the same name what was 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' which baffled radio listeners for many years?

Good luck everyone!

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