Lincoln boss Michael Appleton has this clear message for Sunderland ahead of Papa John's Trophy meeting

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Lincoln boss Michael Appleton says he’ll name the strongest side available when his team face Sunderland in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday.

While Sunderland will be playing their first group game in this season’s competition, the Imps have already beaten League Two side Bradford and Manchester United Under-21s in Northern Group F.

There is still an unlikely scenario where Lincoln could go out, yet a draw against Sunderland would see them progress to the knockout stages.

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If the match finishes level, a penalty shootout will be played, with a bonus point on offer, yet that outcome would still see Lincoln progress through the group.

Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton.Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton.
Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton.

“It would be ridiculous if we don’t go through but we’ve just got to try and take care of the game,” said Appleton ahead of the match.

“We want a draw as a minimum so we’re not worrying about other results, but we’ll try and win the game.”

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson is expected to make several changes to his side at the LNER Stadium, with League One the priority.

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Appleton may also want to consider changes but is dealing with several injury setbacks, meaning his options will be limited.

When asked about Sunderland, the Lincoln boss added: “I don’t know if Lee is going to put his B side, his C side or his D side, but we’ll roll out an A team if we can.”

Lincoln, who beat Sunderland in the play-offs last season, drew 2-2 with Plymouth last time out and are 16th in League One after 11 games.

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