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Rovers v Sandgrounders

Boz

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Iain Hume
#1
Our last home game of the scheduled fixtures but almost certainly there will be another in the play-offs.It will definitely be the visitors last away game in the NL for a while, after their relegation to the NL North was confirmed at Dover, but followed up with something Rovers couldn't manage; a home win over Forest Green. Feel sorry for Southport, their chairman, Charlie Clapham, is partial to chopping and changing managers and the decision to axe Steve Burr, who seemed to have the club broadly heading in the right direction has proved costly. May be some protest in the away end on Saturday.

We drew 1-1 at Haig Avenue last summer, a freak cross cum shot from Louis Almond levelling in a game we probably ought to have won. It is more than likely that with Lincoln kicking off early with what looks a home banker against Macclesfield, that by the time we kick off, the Imps will have won the title. However by the time that game finishes, our team-sheet will have been handed in. While there is a slim possibility that Lincoln won't get the win they require to finish it on Saturday, I suppose MM will have to pick the strongest line-up, but if Lincoln are coasting at the time the sheets are handed in, resting one or two might be considered. Otherwise, one or two early substitutions may help the cause.

Prediction: There should be a decent crowd again, around the 6k mark, though unsure of the number of travelling fans. Expect a Rovers win, in a tight game 1-0 or 2-1.
 
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Jason Koumas
#2
I agree with Boz about the Southport chairman, who makes PJ in his final days at Rovers seem effective. In their current state, you can't see Southport returning to this level any time soon.

As for ourselves, I had this game down as one where Jeff Hughes might be given a rest. However, Maynard is not back in training until next week so we don't have that luxury, and Wallace will be required to play ninety minutes again. In the unlikely event that Lincoln do drop points, this match gives us an opportunity to improve the goal difference, not that Southport will simply lie down. As in all recent games, I don't anticipate any real changes to the side and I think it is important we win to keep the momentum going. I hope Cook is preferred to Stockton again.

I agree with Boz about the size of the attendance, and think there will probably only be 150-200 from Lancashire.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#3
I can't see Lincoln imploding at this stage of the season. Two draws or one win from three games should not be beyond them, so I think Micky would be justified in planning for the play-offs. If all goes as expected, we travel south again to Aldershot or Dover for the first leg just four days after the final league game at Maidstone. The return leg at home is then just three days later with the final scheduled a week later. So, not much time for recovery. Getting and keeping the squad fit and in the right frame of mind must be the key now.
 
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Chris Greenacre
#4
After 1 point from our last 2 home games this is an opportunity to give the crowd some entertainment and positivity before our next home game being a significant one in the play offs. However the sandgrounders recent win over FGR, who had beaten us only a week or so before, shows how unpredictable things can be.

Off the field their chairman has today I think announced his resignation plus numerous directors. You wonder what the future holds and surely many of their players will be thinking of getting away as soon as they can. Hopefully that may help, unless they want to be in the shop window.

Southport will be relaxed to a degree as already down and our own players may feel the same - accepting we won't catch Lincoln and wanting to stay fit for the play offs. Therefore the game despite being a derby could have the feel of a pre season game to it. Can Almond play against us?

As BBTC says, MM must have one eye on having no more injuries before the play offs. I'd try and give Dunn a run out (although may depend if we stick with 5-3-2), but other than that I can't see many changes. Despite what I said above I expect MM to play a strong side, go for the win and guarantee second, and then make some changes for the Maidstone game.

Prediction: narrow rovers win to seal 2nd place. Would be great if Nors could follow up his goal last weekend with another. Wouldn't mind putting a penalty away before the play offs too ! Hope Wallace can get another 90 minutes without any problems.
 

Ian

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Aldo
#5
As MM keeps reminding us, they go out to win every game and I don't think tomorrow will be any different. No pressure on Southport, although you would imagine if we can turn it on a bit we can put as few past them. They are bottom for a reason!

I still think we should be trying to win this by as many as possible while we still have a chance, albeit a very small chance!

I'm predicting an entertaining 3-0 to Rovers. Cook and Nors on the scoresheet.
 
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Bobby Hutchinson
#6
It wouldn't have been nice to beat Port tomorrow to put them down. Thankfully their fate already sealed. And what a great favour from them beating FGR.
I'm sure they'll play with passion and pride.
Can't see any wholesale changes just yet but with a win would like to see some given time off next Saturday.
I've said before that C Jennings has run himself into the ground as proved by his stats against Shots. Nors can't be far behind. They may have missed games earlier in season but that doesn't mean we should flog them at this stage. Losing either of them now would be awful.
If we can get points in the bag tomorrow early doors then give Sousa and Dunn a run. They both look like they could change things as subs when we get to the sharp end.
And let's keep the vocal support going. At long last our final home game isn't to host somebody elses play off party.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
#8
Is Almond still at Southport? Hasn't been selected in the last few games if so.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
#13
Bit surprised Cook doesn't start. Bench of 3 strikers and a wide player doesn't offer much option to give Hughes a breather. Now Lincoln have taken the title we need to try and conserve our energy for the play-offs.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
#14
It's been fairly dismal fare first half. Visitors probably come closest before Ihky's through ball converted by Norwood. Midfield is a real problem for us.
 
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Alan King, Barry Dyson
#17
Very pleased for Norwood. We now have three strikers on form. Bad news about Vaughan. Hope he's fit for the play-offs. I think we should try Gumbs next Saturday in the back three, unless we try Sousa and Dunn / Norwood as widemen in a 4-4-2. I'd like to see Mangan given a game.
 
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Jason Koumas
#18
No classic, but a deserved victory for Rovers. This was always going to be a difficult game for the players, but we did enough to secure second place. Unfortunately, the result was overshadowed to a large extent by a serious injury to Lee Vaughan, which could necessitate yet another change of formation in the play-offs. It was a nasty and cynical challenge by the Southport player.

The first half was a typical end of season affair, a real non-event. Perhaps understandably, the Rovers players seemed to be playing within themselves, although we deserved to be ahead at half time. The players clearly had a rocket at the break, and we came out with more purpose and deservedly added to our tally in the second half, with all of the goals excellent finishes.

Individually, I thought Ihiekwe and Buxton were excellent. Wallace was very good on the ball in the first half but faded in the second, although he did well in the build up to Jennings' second goal. Neither he nor Hughes were effective off the ball, but that reflects the absence of a defensive midfielder: we need Maynard available for the play-offs. I thought Jennings had a poor first half but was better in the second, while Norwood worked hard again and I was delighted he got his goals; the second was a superb instinctive finish. Cole Stockton had a poor game and I think we need to use next week's match to get Cook sharp for the play-offs, as he looked a bit leggy when he came on.

Another good crowd, which I believe means we finish with the highest average in the division once again. It looks certain to be Aldershot in the play-offs, and I hope we have some good news on the injury front before we face them.
 

Boz

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Iain Hume
#19
Much better second half. Norwood's second goal and Connor Jennings first were class finishes. Terrible challenge by Myers on Vaughan, light years worse than Buxton's in the Bromley game and he only got a yellow. None of the subs impressed and the manager has some thinking to do.