The Pepe Reyes Cup has come too soon for a Lincoln side that is lacking match fitness ahead of facing up to its closest rivals this Saturday.
“We have started late, we haven’t trained enough together and a lot of players have been away with the national squad,” said Raul Procopio, Lincoln manager. “A lot of the newest arrivals are still in the process of settling in and adapting to the squad so while we still have last year’s squad to rely on, we are clearly not in the best shape at the moment.
“We haven’t played many preseason matches and even though the season is already starting we are still preparing the team to get to its optimum state, so we’re still far from 100%.
He did not rule out the chance of losing the match for these reasons, raising the point that it is only because everyone is so accustomed to Lincoln winning everything that they are expected to win this match as well.
“It never enters my head that we will lose,” said Procopio, “but in the end anything could happen because it is clear the opponent is very strong. Our mark of identity is to attack all the time so it is up to Europa to stop us doing so. All in all I’m expecting a great game of football.”
This season Lincoln will showcase a number of new players that have been added to the squad over the summer months, quite a few of which are over 30 and provide the knowledge the team need to go to the next level.
Procopio said the idea behind bringing so many older players was to mix the veterans with the youth: “We want to have more of those players with a lot of experience so we can keep growing as a team and that the youth will continue learning from their example to create a stronger team.”

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