Michael Appleton
GILLINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton applauds the fans at the final whistle following the Sky Bet League One match between Gillingham and Lincoln City at MEMS Priestfield Stadium on November 16, 2019 in Gillingham, England. (Photo by Andrew Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Life under Michael Appleton at Lincoln City is proving tougher than expected. The Imps have seen just two wins from ten games since his appointment.

Following a manager that is so well-loved by fans and is synonymous with the club can prove a tough act to follow. The five managers that have followed the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United have found out how hard it can be. The same can be said for Appleton, as following Danny Cowley, the man who spearheaded the rise of Lincoln, was always going to be tough.

Lincoln City Are Finding Life Under Michael Appleton Tougher Than Expected

Performances Are There, Results Are Not

Barring their most recent defeat to Gillingham, the Imps have been putting in consistent performances; however, the results have not. Michael Appleton labelled his side’s performance against Gillingham as ‘rubbish’. Speaking to Lincolnshire Live after the game, he said: “That’s by far the worst performance I’ve seen from a team I’ve managed.”

A problem for the 43-year-old’s side has been scoring goals. They have been inconsistent, averaging little over one per game. First choice striker Tyler Walker has just four goals under Michael Appleton, yet remains top-scorer. It is an issue that certainly needs addressing in January.

The Imps have also struggled to see games out. For example, they conceded a 92nd equaliser away to AFC Wimbledon after leading for three-quarters of the game. They failed to make it 2-0 through a penalty in their FA Cup tie against Ipswich Town and conceded yet another late equaliser. As a result, they now face a replay against the Tractor Boys.

Ipswich Town Replay Offers The Chance For Michael Appleton To Change Lincoln City

The problem that Michael Appleton is facing at Sincil Bank – like any other manager across the country – is that the squad isn’t his and the formation is not a change from the previous regime.

As a result, the FA Cup replay against Ipswich Town offers the chance for the Imps manager to implement new changes at Lincoln.

Speaking before the game, he said: “I won’t accept the manner in which we lost on Saturday.

“I’ve lost games as a manager and you accept that it is part and parcel of the job. But losing the game in the manner that we did is why I was slightly angered.”

Appleton also suggested that he hoped the dreadful performance would spur his players on, saying: “It would be difficult not to get a positive reaction.

“I’m pretty confident the performance will be 10 times better. These things happen in football.”

One change that the Lincoln City manager might make is opting for two up-front. Strikers John Akinde and Tyler Walker have started together just once so far this season, with the latter often being preferred in a 4-2-3-1 formation. As a result, the game against Ipswich offers the chance for Appleton to change not only personnel but also new style and formation.

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