DAVID Flitcroft says his Swindon Town troops must get their defensive duties right first and foremost before “earning the right” to be more adventurous against Lincoln City this evening.

Flitcroft is preparing his troops for a physical and direct approach from the Imps at the Energy Check County Ground, so the main emphasis for Swindon is to find a way to combat that.

That message of prioritising the squad’s work ethic is reflection of the entire ethos that Flitcroft has tried to implement at the club since taking over as manager during the summer.

Town head into the contest in good spirits on the back of an eye-catching 3-1 win away at Mansfield Town at the weekend and are sitting just outside the play-off spots in the League Two table.

However, Flitcroft believes it be extremely naïve for Town to assume anything will come easily against Lincoln.

“You have to earn the right,” said Flitcroft.

“I am from a good, solid background where you have got to earn everything in life. If you want to be successful, you have got to earn your stripes.

“The trouble with this day and age is that you can get a credit card and everything is instant.

“My first car, I got two jobs to save up for it. I try to impress on this group of players that you have got to earn every little inch that you gain. If you do, you will have a fair and equal chance.

“Out of possession, you have got to want to do the miles, but as a group, the whole 22 of them absolutely want to work for each other.

“We will get it wrong at times but there is an honesty about them and we will bring that to the party in most games we play.”

Flitcroft expects Swindon’s defence to have to cope with plenty of aerial threat against a Lincoln side who have adapted well to life back in the Football League following their National League title-winning season in 2016-17 as they look to play high balls in to six-foot-five striker Ollie Palmer.

Town shaped up well to a similar ploy from the Stags at the One Call Stadium at the weekend, with the Swindon boss accepting that style is part and parcel of football in the fourth tier.

“I think it is only really Luton that you will see play it out from the back and really play through the pitch, the rest of the teams do look to get the ball forward early,” said Flitcroft.

“There is a common theme, there are a couple of strikers that are usually of a good size.

“Lincoln did that last season and had great success with it and they have assembled a big squad, been able to keep Sean Raggatt at centre half, who is a big player.

“Their attendances have been going through the roof so they have got it going and have got real momentum.

“We know we have got a challenge. I said that to the players after the game on Saturday, everything we do now is about Lincoln and representing our supporters at home.”

Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux remains suspended for Town tonight, while Dion Conroy (knee) and Chris Hussey (groin) are out injured.

Timi Elsnik was in line to return to training early this week after a groin injury of his own, although the match against the Imps is likely to be soon for him to be back in the matchday squad.