13 November 2019 00:49
Get the biggest Daily stories by email Subscribe Thank you for subscribing See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Club captain Lee Frecklington and left-back Ben Coker will make their first starts of the season in tonight's EFL Trophy clash against Rotherham United at Sincil Bank. Experienced midfielder Frecklington – who has made just two appearances since February due to a groin injury which required surgery in the summer – will line up against one of his former clubs. Frecklington is revered at Rotherham after helping the Millers win promotion to the Championship during six years at the New York Stadium. Another long-term injury absentee, Coker, will make his first competitive appearance for the club. Coker – who joined the Imps in the summer after leaving Southend United at the end of last season – hasn't played a competitive game since October last year due to a serious knee injury.
Grant Smith, Max Melbourne, Harry Anderson, Ellis Chapman, Tom Pett, Jorge Grant and John Akinde also come into the side. Only Callum Connolly and Jack Payne have been retained from the side which started Saturday's 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town in the FA Cup. There is a place on the bench for young striker Jordan Adebayo-Smith, who is in the middle of loan spell at Boston United, who are in league action at Spennymoor tonight. Under competition rules, Adebayo-Smith is eligible to play for the Imps in the competition. The Imps must win the game by four clear goals – or 6-3 – to finish second in the group and advance to the round of 32. A draw will be enough to send Rotherham through at the expense of City and Doncaster Rovers.
The loss will perhaps not mean much to the club's fans, other than the 137 hardy souls that braved the November cold to watch it, but it will hurt boss Paul Warne. Warne has always vowed to take the much-maligned Football League Trophy seriously and proved it by putting a strong team out at Sincil Bank. However, John Akinde's double inside the opening 14 minutes cast the die and Tyler Walker's late header ensured Doncaster Rovers join Manchester United's youngsters in the next round. That leaves the Millers dreaming of some FA Cup magic this season and 24 hours after being drawn away at non-league Solihull Motors in the second round, they will see that as a good opportunity for a nice distraction from their league campaign. Most people but Warne viewed this competition, which the Millers won in 1996 when it had more prestige, as an unwanted distraction, but after the boss named the likes of Freddie Ladapo, Michael Smith, Jamie Lindsay and Matthew Olosunde in his side, it was clear he was taking it seriously. Despite a strong line-up, it was a below-par performance and two Lincoln goals inside the opening 15 minutes did the damage. First Akinde scored from the spot after Tom Pett was fouled in the penalty area. Two minutes later the former Barnet striker doubled his tally when he was teed up by Jorge Grant and his deflected effort found its way into the corner. The Millers have been so good on the road in the league, but this was a flat display and they could have been three down before the break had Lewis Price not kept out Harry Anderson's effort. Ladapo, getting some important game time after a recent hamstring injury, threatened to get Warne's side back into it after the restart when he fizzed an effort wide while Dan Barlaser was just off target with another effort. In truth, though, a comeback never looked on the cards and Lincoln sealed the win – their first of the competition in the final group game – through Walker's late strike. The former Nottingham Forest man planted a header into the net in the 87th minute from another Grant assist and a miserable night for Rotherham was complete. Lincoln: Smith, Anderson, Connolly, Melbourne, Coker (Toffolo 60), Frecklington (Hesketh 58), Chapman, Pett, Payne (Walker 82), Grant, Akinde. Unused subs: Vickers, Shackell, Eardley, Adebayo-Smith Rotherham: Price, Olosunde, Cooper, Thompson (Robertson 69), Hinds, Lamy (Ogbene 58), Lindsay, Barlaser, Hastie (Morris 69), Ladapo, Smith. Unused subs: Iversen, Jones, Wiles, Morris, Robertson, Crooks, Ogbene Attendance: 1,860 (137) Lincoln City's 3-0 win over Rotherham United ensured Rovers advanced from Northern Group H on goals scored, along with group winners Manchester United U21s. Darren Moore's side entered the evening needing Lincoln to win on the night but by fewer than four clear goals. A third goal for the Imps on 87 minutes had nerves jangling for Rovers but Lincoln could not find the goal they needed to advance. The result meant Rovers, Rotherham and Lincoln all finished on three points in the group. Sign up to our daily newsletter The i newsletter cut through the noise Thanks for signing up! Sorry, there seem to be some issues. Please try again later. Submitting... The second round draw will take place at 2pm on Saturday with the games due to be played on the week commencing December 2. Rovers will be drawn against one of the eight winners of the northern groups – except Manchester United U21s.