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Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Exeter may well take cautious approach in crucial first leg at Lincoln

Opening stages could be cagey

Exeter manager Paul Tisdale has earned another crack at the playoffs
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Sky Bet League Two playoff semi-final, first leg
Sky Sports Football, 3pm Saturday

Exeter came through a thrilling playoff semi-final tie against Carlisle last season, winning 6-5 on aggregate, and their March trip to Lincoln ended in a 3-2 defeat.

However, punters should expect a more cagey encounter as Paul Tisdale’s Grecians return to Sincil Bank to kick off this term’s fourth-tier playoffs.

Lincoln, beaten only three times at home in the regular season, are odds-on to take a first-leg lead in the tie and their promotion credentials have been discussed in the outright preview.

But they may have to be patient against an Exeter side who would surely be content with a draw in the first leg given their indifferent away form.

The visitors lost ten of their 23 regular-season road matches, scoring only eight goals in their nine games away to other top-ten teams.

A more cautious approach can be expected from Exeter after their frantic semi-final clash with Carlisle last season and the 15-8 about a goalless first half in the first leg is worth a bet.

When these teams met in March, four of the five goals came after the hour mark and Lincoln drew 0-0 at home to promoted sides Luton and Wycombe.

The Imps failed to score before the break in five of their last six matches and Danny Cowley’s side may be forced to wait for a breakthrough once again.

0-0 half-time correct score
1pt 15-8 Hills

Sky Bet League Two standings

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Team news
Defenders Neal Eardley and Sam Habergham should be fit but Lee Frecklington is a slight doubt.

Jordan Moore-Taylor, Craig Woodman and Ryan Harley need to prove their match fitness. Lee Holmes remains sidelined.

Key stat
Lincoln have lost only one of their last 14 home games in Sky Bet League Two.

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Lincoln, beaten only three times at home in the regular season, are odds-on to take a first-leg lead
E.W. Terms
Sky bet