We continue with our look at this season's visitors as we scratch the surface with Lincoln City.
Nickname: The Imps
Club Colours: Red & White
Who are they?
After the disbanding of Lincoln Rovers, Lincoln City formed in 1884 before swiftly entering the Second Division. The club spent a large number of years bouncing between the second tier and regionalised leagues, before helping to found the Third Division (North) in 1921.
The Imps became the first side to suffer automatic relegation from the Football League in 1987, but bounced back as champions of the Conference the following year. Following that promotion Lincoln stayed in the Football League and often competed strongly in the fourth tier, before being relegated to the Conference again in 2010.
They stayed in non-league until 2016/17, when the Imps romped to the league title alongside an impressive FA Cup run which saw them beat Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley before Arsenal eventually knocked them out at the quarter final stage.
Did You Know?
+ Lincoln hold the record for dropping out of the Football League the most times, having been demoted or relegated on five occasions - in 1908, 1911, 1920, 1987 and 2011.
+ The Imps reached the Division Three play-offs in five successive seasons between 2002 and 2007, without earning any promotions - a record for the number of successive attempts without winning a final.
+ Under the old two points for a win system, Lincoln racked up 74 points in the 1975/76 season which is a record high.
How did they get on last season?
Lincoln earned promotion from the Conference last season after an impressive campaign which saw them lose only seven times. The Imps racked up 99 points, leaving them four points clear of their nearest rivals and earning them automatic promotion back to League Two after a six-year absence. They combined this fine league form with an FA Cup run to the quarter-finals.
Who’s in charge?
One of the Football League’s youngest managers, 38-year-old Danny Cowley will be in the dugout for the Imps this season. After a playing career in non-league, Cowley took over at Concord Rangers in 2007 and took the side from the Essex Senior Football League to the National League South during his eight years at the club.
His talents weren’t going unnoticed, and Braintree appointed Cowley as their new manager in 2015 with the Iron going on to achieve a record-high league finish of third in the National League. That saw Lincoln come calling, and they appointed Cowley at the start of last season.
How has their summer transfer business looked?
Having retained the majority of last season’s promotion winning squad, with only winger Terry Hawkridge departing, Lincoln have added some experienced new faces ahead of their first season back in the Football League.
Strikers Ollie Palmer and Matt Green have arrived from Leyton Orient and Mansfield respectively, while midfielder Billy Knott has joined permanently after spending time on loan at Sincil Bank last season. Keeper Josh Vickers has signed from Swansea and is joined by tricky winger Jordan Maguire-Drew and Burnley’s Josh Ginnelly.
They’ve Played For Both
Popular defender Dean Walling moved to Sincil Bank after a highly-successful spell in Cumbria. After starting his career as a striker, Walling later became a centre half and it was in this position where he excelled at Brunton Park. ‘Deano’ made 236 appearances during his time at United while helping the Blues to Third Division success in 1995 and a Football League Trophy triumph two years later. He made the move to Lincolnshire in 1997 and played 38 times for the Imps during two seasons at the club.
Memorable Meeting - Carlisle 2-2 Lincoln (22 September 2001)
There was drama in this encounter at Brunton Park as United left it late to snatch a point. Kingsley Black put Lincoln in front after 15 minutes before Stephen Halliday levelled things up before the break. Black’s second looked to have sealed victory for the Imps, but Richie Foran grabbed a last minute equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared.
When Did We Last Meet [prior to the trip to Sincil Bank earlier this season]?
Our last meeting came on 28 March 2006, where United claimed three points en route to winning the League Two title. A solitary strike from Michael Bridges with 15 minutes remaining was enough for the Blues on that occasion.
When Do We Meet Next?
We made the trip to Sincil Bank on 26 August before the Imps visit Brunton Park on 2 April in our Easter Monday fixture.