Lincoln face last of the big tasks before Slovan Bratislava
Lincoln Red Imps will be facing Lions Gibraltar this Saturday afternoon in what will be one of the big testing matches for players mentally with just five days before they face possibly one of their biggest test in Europa Conference League group stage football.
Although Lions are not one of the power teams of the Gibraltar National League their reputation for creating a brick wall around their goal and snatching points precedes them. Lincoln Red Imps will not have forgotten last season’s 1-1 draw which made their life difficult as they approached the final weeks of the season.
Lions physicality and defensive approach to the game, instilled by their head coach Ferrer, comes at a time when the red and blacks can ill-afford injuries or over doing it. It will be the type of challenge where Lincoln’s goal makers, who come from across a wide cross section of the team will be looked upon to secure an early lead so that the team can gear-down enough to not risk players for next Thursday.
Lions, although they have played just one match, last weekend forced St Joseph’s into a tight scrappy battle for the points. Last season’s third placed St Joseph only scraping past for the three points with the narrowest of victories as they came away 2-1 winners.
Lincoln, whose forwards were among those who had the spot;Ishtar shone over them after failing to put away their chances against Slovan Bratislava have since responded with goals.
The seven goal put past Lynx on Monday underlining their determination to put behind them the critics.
Graeme Torilla, one of Lincoln Red Imps young establishing players speaking to the Lincoln Red Imps official website commented.
“The 7-1 victory was the exact sort of response we were hoping for to bounce back from our UEFA Europa Conference League defeat in Slovan Bratislava,” said midfield man, Graeme Torrilla. “Not only did we manage to win by a big margin, but our performance matched it.
“It’s sometimes hard to break these sorts of team down but when we did, we managed to grow into the game and play some good football.
“I think the start of the local league will definitely benefit us when going into our next UEFA Europa Conference League group game.
“Playing games frequently will only work to our advantage to give us that sharpness and extra bit of match fitness to put on another solid performance and hopefully come away with a result which we’ve been working towards.”
There was a similar upbeat reaction to this week’s victory from their now legendary captain Roy Chipolina.
“This was a tricky match for us to go in to,” he admitted. “Lynx are always tough opposition and we knew that we couldn’t allow our levels to drop against them.
“We wanted to set the pace early on with a high press and work ethic, which is exactly what we did.
“Our opponents competed well, especially in the early stages, but once we took the lead, we were able to go on and get complete control of the match. It was a very good team display.
“The only disappointment was that we couldn’t keep a clean sheet. That said, we worked hard throughout the 90 minutes and it was a good three points.”
Lincoln Red Imps take on Lions Gibraltar this Saturday (kick-off 4.00pm) before returning to UEFA Europa Conference League business on Thursday where they will be hosting Slovan Bratislava in their latest group game (kick-off 6.45pm).
For the players Saturday will be the last of their domestic league matches until mid-November. However, for a large bulk of players Saturday will be the start of a journey which will see them playing against Slovan Bratislava on Thursday, and then nine days later play for the national side against Turkey (away) and Latvia at home within the space of a few days. Just five days later they will return to domestic league football before again playing just three days laters in the Europa Conference League. Just a handful of days later they will play key matches in the domestic league against Mons Calpe and St Joseph’s with their last ECL group stage in between.
This for some players will be the first time they will see a reduced calendar of matches since the start of June when they first started their European club competition journey.
Crucially for Lincoln Red Imps the response from players both mentally and physically will be a key factor for them with no other club experiencing the present fixture congestion Lincoln Red Imps players face with their commitments to both club and country.