‘No apologies’ – Michael Appleton on Lincoln City’s defeat to Charlton Athletic

Michael Appleton admitted that some of his players had turned down their first auditions for his play-off team after Lincoln City lost 3-1 at Charlton Athletic.

With the Imps’ place in the top six already secured, Appleton rested some key players for the game in The Valley.

Liam Bridcutt didn’t travel, Morgan Rogers was an unused replacement, and Brennan Johnson wasn’t risked after his recent hamstring problem.

The Imps had a tame chance in the first half but were overwhelmed after the break as they battled for substitute Chuks Aneke, who set up the opener for Jordan Stockley and scored the third goal through a major distraction from TJ Eyoma.

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In between, Ryan Inniss went home unmarked as Charlton secured the win they needed to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Harry Anderson withdrew a goal for the Imps, who dropped to fifth after Blackpool’s 2-0 win over Doncaster Rovers.

It looks like Blackpool will face the Imps in the play-offs, although City could still finish third if they beat Wimbledon on Sunday.

“I thought we were okay in the first half and looked more threatening in the final third, but we lacked a bit of quality,” said Appleton after the loss at The Valley.

“Then, in the first part of the second half, we lacked a bit of intensity and aggression. They improved it a bit, went up two, got even more direct and gave us a few problems.

“I’m disappointed with a staff or two hoping to show me that they should be in their starting XI and pushing, and it didn’t quite happen.

“But overall, that’s what it is. We did what we had to do. We will look very different next Sunday [against Wimbledon] and we’ll look very different on the 18th or 19th [when the play-offs start]. ”

Jayden Stockley scores Charlton’s first goal against Lincoln City

The night’s biggest positive result was the return of key defender Joe Walsh, who replaced Eyoma in the final 20 minutes.

“You [Charlton’s front two of Stockley and Aneke] were against two young middle halves [Lewis Montsma and Eyoma]who worked brilliantly for us, ”added Appleton.

“But it was interesting because he was the first [Walsh] tat was to smash one of them.

“A little more experience in the middle of defense might have helped us earlier in the second half, but the idea was always to get Walshy in about 20 minutes.

“I’ve been saying this for a couple of weeks now and I’m not apologizing. It’s about building up the players and making sure we don’t overload them, hopefully bringing them to climax at the right time.”

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