York City's stuttering form of late has left Darren Edmondson with a cross to bear, but should the Minstermen right-back bear the cross for the winning goal tonight at Lincoln City all could be forgiven.

Edmondson, who will miss Saturday's Division Three trip to Bournemouth through suspension, feels the club's faltering fortunes are not the fault of City's misfiring forwards, but down to him and the rest of the squad as a whole.

With the goals drying up, Edmondson feels he and his colleagues should be doing more to help create the chances for Peter Duffield, Jon Parkin and Lee Nogan to tuck away.

Edmondson said: "The season has sort of turned on us as at the start we were scoring lots of goals, but conceding a few. Now we're not conceding as many, but we're not scoring either.

"We've tightened up at one end but we seem to have stopped creating the chances or perhaps there is a lack of confidence among the forwards.

"The forwards' game is about scoring goals and if they are not scoring then, although they probably won't admit it, their heads go down. They don't quite make the same runs they would if they had two or three goals.

"But we have every confidence in them. They are all decent forwards, who were scoring at the start of the season, so there is no reason why they can't start belting them in again

"But as a full-back or a wing-back, it is my job to create crosses and get the ball in the box for them and that is something the gaffer has mentioned.

"In the last couple of weeks the crossing or the final ball into the forwards or the little one-twos with them hasn't been as sharp as it was at the start of the season.

"I have to take a bit of the blame for that because my crossing is obviously at fault if we are not scoring goals. It is just not the lads up front who are too blame, it can stem from anywhere, whether it is a ball in from a midfielder or winger or another forward, we have got to look at all aspects of our game and keep it on the boil."

The much-maligned LDV Vans Trophy might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for 31-year-old Edmondson the competition could provide the club and its fans with a memorable day out at the Millennium Stadium.

And as well as its rewards in the final, the Trophy could help to get the club back on track when it comes to the Division Three promotion push.

"Everyone says this competition is not that important, but if you ask the teams that have got to the final and played at either the Millennium Stadium or at Wembley they won't say that," said the former Carlisle and Huddersfield defender. "Not many people can say they have run out there in front of 60,000."

City, who had two trialists among their number this week, will be boosted by news that Watford loanee Lee Cook has been cleared to play tonight, although Stephen Brackstone (back), Lee Bullock (back), Tom Cowan (calf) and Gary Hobson (knee) are all set to miss out through injury.

Goalkeeper Alan Fettis is given the night off to rest a sore knee so Russ Howarth comes in for his first start of the season. Chris Brass, who has four bookings against his name, will be on the bench.

City defender Graeme Law made his full international debut yesterday as Scotland Under-19s beat Slovenia 2-1 courtesy of a Craig Beattie brace.

Match points: Lincoln v City

City and Lincoln have met just once before in this competition. That was in 1984/85 when the Imps won a third round match in the then Freight Rover Trophy 3-2 at Bootham Crescent. John MacPhail and Keith Houchen were the scorers and City's line up on April 22, 1985 in front of 4,010 was: Jones, Senior, Hay, Hood, MacPhail, Haslegrave, Ford, Banton, Butler, Houchen, Nicholson (Ward).

City have fallen at the first hurdle in each of the last five seasons + 1997/98 Blackpool (A) lost on pens, 1998/99 Halifax T (A) 2-4, 1999/00 Hull City (H) 0-1, 2000/01 Darlington (H) 0-4, 2001/02 Notts County (A) 0-2

Tonights squads:

York City

from: Howarth, Edmondson, Potter, Jones, Basham, Smith, Mazzina, Cook, Wood, Duffield, Nogan, Collinson, Okoli, Yalcin, Parkin, Brass

Lincoln City

from Pettinger, Bimson, Weaver, Morgan, Futcher, Sedgemore, Willis, Mike, Yeo, Smith Cropper, Camm, Thompson, Davies, Schofield, Kerley.

Referee: Keith Hill (Herts)

Kick off: 7.45pm

Updated: 11:22 Tuesday, October 22, 2002