This is why Lincoln City were able to make a new signing just hours before their play-off clash with Sunderland

Lincoln City’s ability to secure a new signing on the eve of their play-off clash with Sunderland certainly got fans talking.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 8:40 am

The Black Cats travel to Sincil Bank this evening (6pm kick-off) to face a side bolstered by a fresh arrival.

Michael Appleton swooped to sign Stoke City goalkeeper Josef Bursik on an emergency loan deal after regular stopper Alex Palmer suffered a training ground injury that has ruled him out of the play-off clash.

Bursik – who recently spent a similar spell at Peterborough United – will now start against the Wearsiders.

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Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton

So why were Lincoln allowed to make this signing?

There are special rules that allow clubs to make a signing when they have no available goalkeepers – but they do not extend to other areas of the field (such as defenders, which is why Sunderland were unable to add to their ranks during their defensive injury crisis).

The EFL rules state that an emergency loan signing can only be made when ‘all the Professional Goalkeepers at a Club are unavailable’ due to injury, suspension or international duty.

Palmer is the only ‘senior’ goalkeeper at Lincoln at present, with Ethan Ross out on loan at Weymouth and 18-year-old Sam Long yet to make a first-team appearance.

Lincoln will have had to submit evidence surrounding the unavailability of Palmer to the EFL before being given permission to sign Bursik.

The league regulations also state that all emergency loan deals ‘shall be for a period of seven days’ – meaning the Stoke stopper would be available for the second leg if required.

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