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Michael Appleton to shake up Lincoln squad in summer after defeat at Accrington

Michael Appleton is planning to shake up his Lincoln squad (Isaac Parkin/PA)
Michael Appleton is planning to shake up his Lincoln squad (Isaac Parkin/PA)

Michael Appleton promised a revamp of his Lincoln side after they lost 2-1 at 10-man Accrington.

The Imps reached the Sky Bet League One play-offs last season but have battled relegation in this campaign, although both them and Accy secured their third-tier status for next season ahead of this game.

Stanley opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Tommy Leigh headed the ball goalwards and Colby Bishop, on the line with Imps defender Adam Jackson, forced the ball into the net for an own goal.

Accrington doubled their lead in the 59th minute when Ethan Hamilton’s strike was pushed out by keeper Jordan Wright but into the path of Bishop, who fired into the empty net.

Stanley lost goalkeeper Toby Savin in the 61st minute when he was sent off for handling outside his area and Lewis Fiorini scored a consolation for Lincoln in the third minute of stoppage time.

Appleton also lost two players to injury in the opening 30 minutes: Conor McGrandles suffered medial ligament damage and Ben House broke his collarbone and went straight to hospital.

“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong,” said Appleton. “We suffered serious injuries to Conor and Ben and, for some reason, the players didn’t really recover from it.

“We gave away two criminal goals and there are one or two in there who didn’t take responsibility. I made it clear in the dressing room to not be surprised if it’s the last game one or two players play for the club.

“I had to be careful what I said. A few players coped with the physicality of Accrington and took responsibility and had a go but some were found wanting.

“I will talk to individuals privately but it should be your personal pride that you want to be competitive.

“We could have been two or three up before they scored and when they got one, our body language was like we were three or four down but it was only early in the game.”

John Coleman’s side are in 13th place and have had a strong record at the Wham Stadium this season.

“I am pleased for Colby to get two goals, he always gives his all and he is such an integral part of what we do here,” said the Stanley boss.

“Up to 75 minutes that was one of our best performances of the season. We had a game plan and the lads stuck to their task. We went 2-0 up and I thought we could have gone on and won by more but Toby has made an error of judgement, the wind hasn’t helped.

“Saying that, I know they scored, but they didn’t really trouble us after that and we did see it out.

“We have had too many red cards recently and it is something we have to learn from for next season. We have to learn from our mistakes and, if it’s one thing which has let us down, it has been our concentration levels and we need to improve on that.”

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