Lincoln City vs Portsmouth team news: Bolger replacement dilemma

Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton faces a headache in the centre of defence tonight against Portsmouth.

Lincoln City Manager Michael Appleton. Photo: Aaron Mayhew

Centre back Cian Bolger received a three game suspension for a straight red card against Shrewsbury Town on Friday, leaving a lack of options in defence for the Imps’ Sky Bet League One game at Fratton Park.

Appleton said: “We’re going to have to rejig it a little bit. Obviously it makes it difficult for three games with Cian (Bolger) being out and Bostwick being injured.

“We’re going to have to use our imagination at times, it’s not going to be easy – it takes height out of the team as well.

“It’s an opportunity for someone to come in and stake a claim. There’s some players who will be hoping they get their opportunity (tonight) and if they get the nod it’s up to them to go and take it.”

One possible centre back replacement in the Imps’ squad is West Brom loanee Max Melbourne, although Appleton admitted he was cautious of playing two left-footed centre halves.

This could see midfielders Callum Connolly or Michael O’Connor take a step back into defence, having both played games at centre back previously in their careers.

The Imps’ potential lineup for tonight (Credit: buildlineup.com)

Appleton also said tonight’s game on the road will be “tough”, despite Pompey’s poor start to the season.

Portsmouth are two points above the relegation zone and have only won three games in League One.

Appleton said: “I think they’re in a very false position when you look at their performances and you look at the stats that back up the performances.”

Portsmouth lost 1-0 to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and with pressure building on opposing manager Kenny Jackett, Appleton said his side will have to capitalise on this: “You look at not just the starting 11, but the squad and the options they’ve got from the bench – at some point they’ll click and they’ll be a force in this division.

“We’ve got to make sure we try and use the fact that they’re not in a particularly great place in the minute in terms of results to our advantage.”