MICHAEL Appleton believes today’s clash with Oxford United will provide a useful barometer of Lincoln City’s progress.

The 44-year-old, who managed the U’s from 2014 to 2017, has made 12 signings ahead of the start of the Sky Bet League One season.

But the U’s have also strengthened in key areas and Appleton is expecting them to be tough opponents this afternoon.

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He told Lincolnshire Live: “They’ve added to what they had last year, even though they’ve lost (Rob) Dickie, the centre-half.

“They’ve got some good footballers and it will be a tough test for us.

“But it gives us an opportunity to see how far away we are.”

Appleton was in the stands for United’s 6-0 victory at Sincil Bank last September, which came two days after he took the Lincoln job.

He has had almost a year to make his mark and U’s boss Karl Robinson has huge respect for his opposite number.

Robinson: “I never worry about what the opposition are saying and Michael’s not like that.

“He’s a good coach and I feel their players are lucky to have someone with that calibre working with them.

“A point on the first day of the season, away from home, is good.”

Jamie Hanson misses out with a calf problem, while Sean Clare will be fit after limping out of Tuesday’s EFL Trophy victory over Chelsea Under 21s.


Oxford Utd: from Eastwood, Clare, Moore, Atkinson, Ruffels, Kelly, Brannagan, McGuane, Henry, Taylor, Cooper, Stevens, Long, Mousinho, Forde, Sykes, Hall, Agyei, Osei, Winnall, Gorrin.

Lincoln City: from Edwards, Ng, Pickering, Wintle, Kirk, Mandron, Finney, Lancashire, Dale, Sass-Davies, Murphy, Booth, Nolan, Ainley, Griffiths, Lundstrum, Johnson, Onyeka.