Home > Football, Previous clubs > My time at ..Lincoln City. Part 3. A new era

My time at ..Lincoln City. Part 3. A new era

 

find-me-a-gift Over 2000 Gifts and Gadgets

As I reported for pre-season training I hadn’t managed to sell the house in Bristol. This was a real pain. Luckily for me my mother-in-law allowed me to stay with her in Grimsby meaning that I was to commute to Lincoln during pre-season training. I travelled in with Martin Gritton. Although it was under an hour from door to door I wanted to get all the family moved up as soon as possible. John Schofield was brilliant for me during that time. We had weekends off during pre-season for the first few weeks which allowed me to get back down to Bristol. It was a 5am departure on a Monday morning to trek back up to Lincoln for training though.

John Schofield was promoted to first team coach with John Deeham coming in to assist him. John was brilliant as youth team coach and I got on well with him when he was assistant to Keith Alexander. In my opinion he was rightly given the opportunity to lead the first team following the departure of Keith.

Two of Lincoln’s biggest players, both in height and status, had left over the summer. Jamie McCombe and Gareth McAuley left to play for Bristol City and Leicester City respectively. Both were leaving for higher divisions so you can fully understand their departures.

Although there were other players that left at that time you always felt that McAuley and McCombe would be tough to replace. The budget was cut, as it so often is at lower league clubs so the recruitment was important.

Adie Moses was brought in. Nat Brown and Paul Morgan were the other recognised central defenders. Paul Mayo played at centre half occasionally too but John Schofield was to put a larger emphasis on attacking when he took over. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t as if he completely neglected the defensive side of the game but he had so many attack minded players at his disposal that it made sense to play the way he did. When a new manager comes in they always like to put their stamp onto their team as early as possible. John made his values clear from very early on.

Mark Stallard was signed too from Shrewsbury. We immediately hit it off both on and off the pitch. We are the same age, only separated by a week or so, and we had played against each other many times for our previous clubs over the years.

We adapted a 4-3-3 formation for the pre-season matches but also worked on a 4-4-2 formation. We had the personnel to change formation without changing players. I really didn’t mind which formation we played but I think we were more effective when we played 4-4-2. Mark Stallard and I seemed to have an understanding of how to play up front together. Lee Frecklington burst onto the scene too which made us both look better than we were. Freck had a rare quality of being able to run beyond both Mark and I. His energy along with his quality gave the team so many options. The younger legs of Jeff Hughes and Ryan Amoo also took the pressure off the two of us up front. Our football brains and re-vitalisation that playing in that team gave us allowed us to be a big reason why we reached the play-offs that season.

A 1-1 draw at home to Notts County saw us get off the mark. The next two away matches were perfect for me. Hereford United and Torquay United were not too far from Bristol and John allowed me to stay down that week. These gestures go a long way for me. He could so easily have made me train up in Lincoln that week.

6 points from those two games gave us a great start to the season. A stoppage time winner at Torquay by Martin Gritton was a great way to win a match. A defeat to Scunthorpe United after extra time in the league cup was not ideal but allowed us to focus on the league matches which definitely helped. Although I had contributed towards our results I hadn’t scored in the first four matches. My experience taught me not to get too uptight yet I always felt a pressure to get off to a scoring start to any season. I think John Schofield saw that and pulled me to one side. He said that the goals would come and he proved to be correct.

I would like to say thank you to the sponsors of this blog: JJB SPORTS who have a 3 for 2 offer.

 

find-me-a-gift Over 2000 Gifts and Gadgets

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