With Lincoln sat in third position and Notts just outside the Playoff's, the derby takes on extra significance. Despite Lincoln racing fifteen points clear of Notts since the first time they met on the opening day, incidentally a 1-1 draw, the game could be viewed as a six pointer.
For Notts, a win could see them enter the Playoff's again, for the first time since the beginning of the Magpies' dreadful December.
Because of this, and the fact that your Editors reside in Lincoln, this week will see a huge build up from NCM. Here's what to expect:
Today: Tactics Board
Tuesday: Key Players/Key Clashes
Wednesday: History of the fixture
Thursday: Managers view with Exclusive Interview with Lincoln Manager John Schofield.
Friday: Final previews and Question time.
Saturday: Match Report and Match Ratings
Sunday: A look back on the day's events.
When performing at 4-4-2 Thompson's' average line-up has been:
Gleeson White Edwards McCann
Pipe Ross Somner Parkinson
In recent weeks, Lawrie Dudfield has been picked ahead of Junior Mendes whilst Dan Gleeson has been replaced by Gary Silk, though David Pipe has also reverted to right-back prior to his suspension. Pipe returns ahead of the clash, and may slot straight in there. Most depends on which formation Thompson elects. His 4-3-3 may see:
Pipe White Edwards McCann
Smith Somner Martin
Parkinson Lee Dudfield
It is likely that Ian Ross may return, depending on his form in Tuesday nights game with Barnet. Jay Smith, a recent signing, has made the position his own, and Thompson is unlikely to want to replace the battling Somner for a derby.
NCM are of the belief that the Notts' boss and former Lincoln man Thompson will employ the 4-4-2 formation that had Notts battling higher in the league. It is our belief he will play:
Pipe White Edwards McCann
Ross Smith Somner Parkinson
Thompson, despite his insistence on being a footballing side with wingers, tends to employ a direct approach looking to hit target man and top scorer Jason Lee with high balls. Lee is then given the task of finding onrushing players such as Pipe, Parkinson and Dudfield, with Thompson urging his men to get bodies into the box.
Defensively, individuals are struggling at the moment, and that results in poor shape. Should Austin McCann return to fitness in time, his solidity is vital, and Notts have to be more vociferous to aid their understanding.
It will be Somner's job to break things up, and providing Notts attempt to play football a little more, Ross and Smith, or Martin if he plays, have to pass the ball well and use their pace to beat off a commanding Lincoln.
Parkinson must run at either Paul Mayo or Lee Beevers, depending which side he plays, as both are vulnerable to pace and dribbling.
Lined up with this formation and side as they beat Peterborough United on Saturday:
Beevers Moses Brown Mayo
Amoo Frecklington Kerr Hughes
Differing in their approach to the game under Schofield, as opposed to predecessor Keith Alexander, Lincoln now attempt to pass the ball about. Local boy and youngster Lee Frecklington is pivotal in their side. The playmaker has scored nine goals in thirty appearances for the Imps, and creates countless more. Indeed, Lincoln are the divisions top scorers with 55 goals, 27 of those away from Sincil Bank.
That is largely down to the experienced forward line of Jamie Forrester and returning former Notts hero Mark Stallard. The Lincoln ace, who netted 79 goals during his stay with the Magpies, has provided the ammunition for Forrester, who has 16 goals to his name so far. Stallard has twelve.
The Imps tend to pass their way through to Stallard who likes to hold up play and let Forrester explore potential gaps in the opposing defences. Ryan Amoo and Jeff Hughes are direct in their approach, and Pipe and McCann will have to defend deep and remain patient with their challenges. Early crosses into the box will occur from the full-backs, so Notts' widemen must help their full-backs defend.
The defence is physically imposing, and Lee and Dudfield will leave the field with potential scars. Lincoln's Captain Paul Morgan may return, which will be worse for Lee in particular, such is Morgan's ability in the air. They tend to be impatient in their ball play and could wilt under constant bombardment.
The best side NCM could come up with to combine the players is:
Pipe Edwards Morgan McCann
Frecklington Kerr Martin
Dudfield Lee Forrester
See if you can make a better eleven on NCM's Messageboard.