If you want to know the answer without having to wade through a load of fluffy talk then it’s yes.
The Imps set off early this morning for a routine well-planned trip away. Some training facilities have been laid on (West Ham no less. Cheers Jimmy) and then there’s an overnight stay outside Dover before the short trip Saturday morning. We have no fresh injury concerns, the hope is Macauley Bonne will be available and Jack Muldoon is now back to full fitness.
Not many people know there will be a couple of the youth team involved for the trip as well. One of the things the management do is involved a different couple of youth team players for away games and first team training. It’s a good ploy to integrate them and to give them an opportunity to see what first team football is all about.
However meticulously planned though the one factor that cannot be controlled are the opposition. Ricky Modeste and Ricky Miller would be bad enough on their own, but the player formerly known as Lewis Emmanuel plays for them as well. They’re going to want to attack and have shown so far this season they can score goals. They can ship them as well.
As expected they’ve sat in amongst the front runners since the kick off and it’s another six pointer early on in the season. A win here for us and we put convincing daylight between the two teams. If they win they’re right back in the race closing the league up even more. It’s a big game, of that there’s no doubt. However despite our current run of form it is one I think we can win.
There will be goals but I wouldn’t bet on Ricky Miller scoring. I’d think the smart money would probably be on Sean Raggett or Luke Waterfall tomorrow. We’ve not had a lot of joy from corners this season and I think that could change soon. Even if it isn’t from a corner any one of Muldoon, Anderson, Hawkridge or Arnold could land a cross on their head at the right time.
Dover are currently having a new stand built so the atmosphere will be twice as dire as usual. Crabble is never a nice place to have to play your football, but we’re due a win from the home of the White Cliffs and the players are going to want to bounce back quickly from the Barrow defeat. Good teams don’t lose three or four back to back, and I don’t believe this team are willing to lose two on the bounce again.
I think their danger man will be Ricky Modeste rather than Miller. There’s been a lot of focus on Miller this past week or so and it does add an extra flavour to an already mouth watering tie. However it is the threat of Modeste that I worry about more given that he is more akin to Byron Harrison who did cause us problems on Saturday. That’s not to say Miller isn’t a threat of course, but you have to be ready for teams of Dover’s quality.
I’d wager most Imps fans would be happy to come away with a point from Dover, but I know the manager won’t ever settle for anything other than a win. We’ll be going to win the game and look to avenge that 4-1 defeat from last year, and with the right team in place I think we can do it.