Lincoln City welcome Southend United to Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon – Gabriel Sutton previews the meeting.


Two sides to Lincoln

Lincoln City sit joint-top of the embryonic League One table.

Danny and Nicky Cowley’s side, who have already won two promotions in the last three seasons, look majorly impressive once again.

The Imps have secured successive 2-0 victories, at home to Accrington then away at Rotherham, showing different qualities in those respective encounters.

On the opening day, we saw signs of how Danny and Nicky are looking to evolve the style of play.

Jack Payne, who has impressed at this level with four different clubs, showed his creative brilliance as the number 10; the summer signing from Huddersfield has displayed close control in tight areas, an eye for an accurate through ball and a willingness to shoot, too.

There were suggestions that Joe Morrell might be a lightweight technician similar Tom Pett but the Bristol City loanee has in fact done the ugly side of the game very well next to the resurgent Michael O’Connor.

Right-wing athlete Harry Anderson maintained the partnership with disciplined right-back Neal Eardley that he built up last season, as recruit Jorge Grant has brought right-footed quality from the left.

That controlled opening day display was followed by a gritty, dogged defensive performance at Rotherham.

Yes, Lincoln were under the cosh for the first half of that game and needed sturdy defending from centre-backs Michael Bostwick and Cian Bolger, with the latter being a man-of-the-match contender for a second week running.

While they needed goalkeeper Josh Vickers to make one or two eye-catching, reaction saves, they held on in there and disrupted Rotherham’s rhythm, which meant their set piece proficiency could come to the fore.

Eardley played a clever, through ball free-kick to Tyler Walker that caught their opponents off-guard in the build-up to the own goal opener.

The second goal was more in line with the stereotype of Lincoln; Grant’s pin-point corner allowed Anderson to power home a header at the near-post.

Essentially, Lincoln have the tools and flexibility to open teams up – and manage games – in different ways and after a 1-0 EFL Cup win at Huddersfield, they are having little difficulty settling in at this level.


Struggling Southend

Southend United only stayed up last season on the final day.

Yes, Kevin Bond should be credited for lifting the performances when he came in for the final six games – but the return of eight points was largely down to the desperate, defining nature of the situation, rather than a more meaningful transformation.

Southend have begun their league campaign with back-to-back defeats, losing 1-0 to Coventry at St Andrews on day one, before being defeated 3-1 by Blackpool on their own turf in the previous league encounter.

Of course, the stats show the Shrimpers had 63

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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