JORDAN Thorniley has witnessed Lincoln City’s ability more recently than anyone in the Oxford United squad.

It is less than three months since the on-loan Blackpool defender faced the Imps at Wembley in last season’s Sky Bet League One play-off final.

Thorniley was a late substitute as the Tangerines – who beat the U’s in the semi-finals – closed out a 2-1 victory to win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.

Lincoln visit the Kassam Stadium today (3pm) having had the summer to get the play-offs out of their system and the 24-year-old is expecting them to pose a stern test.

“They’ve probably worked on it (the final) and learned from what they’ve done,” he said.

“We’ve had a look at video footage to see where they’re at.

“Normally they’re bang at it, they know what they’re doing and they’re well-drilled, especially last season.

“We just have to do our homework and see what we need to do to beat them.”

Thorniley had to be patient until January of last season, but took his chance in the first-team and was a regular as Blackpool climbed into the play-offs.

He said: “I came in when the team was struggling and we went on and did really well.

“I’ve got no hard feelings (about not playing earlier in the campaign), last season was very successful and I enjoyed it.

“My ambition here is to do exactly the same.”

The former Everton trainee has hit the ground running in similar fashion since joining United on a season-long loan, playing every minute before he was rested for Tuesday’s Carabao Cup defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

Thorniley has looked solid in his five U’s appearances to date and credits his teammates for making him feel at home.

He said: “I feel like I’ve fitted in well with the lads.

“It’s important you have that back four connection.

“The first day I walked in it felt like I’d been here for years.

“Sometimes if you get a bad game it can all go downhill, but the togetherness is brilliant.”

That team spirit has been invaluable in an opening month of the season where Karl Robinson has had to rotate his defence almost game-by-game.

Thorniley has already played alongside Elliott Moore, Luke McNally and John Mousinho in the middle, as well as Steve Seddon and Leon Chambers-Parillon at left back.

It means he has often been the most experienced member of the back four – but he does not mind taking responsibility.

He said: “It’s my job to be able to organise people around me.

“It doesn’t matter who’s playing there, if you can talk to them and help them out it makes your job a lot easier.

“I always try to think about what’s coming before it happens.

“I find that if I can get myself in better positions and read the game better then I’ve got more time when I have the ball.

“When you’ve got more time, you’re more composed.

“When you’re hectic and rushing that’s when mistakes happen, so I try to make sure I’m two steps ahead.”