Iron manager Neil Cox is looking forward to taking charge of his first competitive away game on Tuesday night when he brings the team to face Lincoln City in the EFL Trophy.
The side will be looking to bounce back from Carabao Cup elimination late in the game against Port Vale on Saturday as they begin their three-game group stage campaign in the next cup competition.
Speaking to iFollow Iron, Cox is looking for similar levels of performance for this game, which will hopefully yield a more positive outcome: “We’ve got to get back to it. We trained really well on Monday - there were one or two stiff legs - but we were back in and bright ahead of the game against Lincoln.
“The spirit is really good. We spoke to the boys on Monday morning and there were still one or two disappointed, but the weekend is gone now. We look back at the video, look at the good things and the bad things that we did and then we move on.
“We will be mixing it up. We’re just waiting for one or two players to make sure that they’re fine and that they’ve come through training. We will be bringing in a few players to freshen the legs up, as we need to do, and I will be resting some bodies.
“We are going to Lincoln to win the game and hopefully get a good start in this competition. I will go quite strong, but we need to rest some players, so I will need to mix and match a little bit.”
One of the starting players tomorrow will be Harrison McGahey, who has been absent since the start of pre-season with a calf injury. The central defender comes back into the fold to get him slightly closer to a full-time return to the team.
“'H' will start the game so that we can have a look at him,” he continued.
“He will only play a certain amount of time and we’ll monitor him as the game goes on. He’s missed pre-season really, but he’s trained really well over the last eight or nine days. He now needs minutes under his belt out on the pitch, so why not get them in a local derby?"
The two sides met just a fortnight ago in pre-season, with the Imps winning 4-0 at the LNER Stadium. In that game, the Iron chopped and changed their team and did end up with a very youthful eleven on the pitch during the second period.
City began their campaign with a 2-1 way win at Crewe to progress in the Carabao Cup, as the boss alluded to: “They’re a good side and they had a great win at the weekend.
“Like us, they’ll make a few changes as the league season starts at the weekend and I think that’s more important to both clubs. It is a competition, though, that we want to do well in. I want a performance like we put in on Saturday and hopefully we will get a different result.”
Last season, United made it through to the quarter-finals of the competition before being knocked out by the holders Portsmouth. The trophy provides lower league clubs with that opportunity of silverware and a trip to Wembley, and begins with a local derby behind-closed-doors.
“It’s a shame there’s no crowd,” he stated.
“The fans have missed out on the game against Port Vale and now they’re going to miss out on a local derby on a Tuesday night away from home. I think we would’ve taken a few there, like we used to do, but it’s the way it is at the moment and I can’t wait until we can get fans back inside stadiums."
One player definitely missing from the squad on Tuesday is defender Jai Rowe, who picked up an injury in training on Thursday, which also meant he missed the Valiants clash at the weekend.
“Jai jarred his knee last week in training, which is a shame, as he’s done really well in pre-season,” he added.
“We’re not too sure how long he’s going to be out for - hopefully it’s just a knock in training that he’s had and he fell awkwardly on it.
“At the moment, it is a case of leaving him out at the moment and then seeing how he is over the next few days."
See much more from Neil Cox on iFollow Iron. Click here to buy a £10 Lincoln v Iron iFollow match pass.