Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley highlights the challenge his side faces this weekend as they return to FA Cup action.

The Imps have reached the third round for the 2nd time in three years. And they have been rewarded for that feat, with a trip to Goodison Park to play Premier League regulars Everton.

Cowley on Everton

Danny Cowley knows that his side must perform better than they did on New Year’s Day. Being held to a 1-1 draw by mid-table Port Vale, who bagged a last-minute equaliser through Manny Oyeleke.

And Lincoln will struggle to find a tougher game for them to redeem themselves than Everton. A side with players such as fifty million pound Gylfi Sigurdsson and thirty million pound Michael Keane.

With players of that expense at their disposal, Cowley knows just how big a test it will be for his side.

He said:

“We’re under no illusions of how tough it’s going to be. We have complete respect for Everton, and what they’re doing now. They’ve obviously got world-class players.”
“I’m not sure there’s a perfect time to play any Premier League club when you’re a League Two team. I watched them play Tottenham just recently, and they could’ve and should’ve been 2-0 up in that game.”

On Everton potentially playing a weakened side, Cowley said:

“We did have a look at their whole squad, and a potential weakened side that they might play. Which had Leighton Baines and (Phil) Jagielka, so I won’t feel too sorry for them in terms of quality in the depth of their squad.
“They will make the right decision for their group. Like us, they have had a huge run of games in a short space of time.
“But this is what English football is. We play these games over Christmas, knowing this is how the schedule is set up. We understand that going into the competition at the start of the season, and we embrace the challenge.”

The Toffees are on a poor run of form in the Premier League, winning one, drawing twice and losing five of their last eight games. Which has seen them fall to 11th in the table.

Cowley on being underdogs

Danny and his boys have spent most of the season being expected to win games, which comes with being league leaders. However, Saturday’s game will see them go in as massive underdogs, a game they are predicted to lose heavily.

But Cowley relishes the opportunity, knowing that Lincoln have proved doubters wrong in the past, and so they can do it again.

The Imps do indeed have a history of beating bigger teams, with the amazing FA Cup run still fresh in the memory for many fans.

He said:

“It’d be good to be underdogs, I’ve been one all my life until I joined Lincoln. We look forward to being underdogs on Saturday.
“I think they say that lightning doesn’t strike twice. I don’t know who says that, but they certainly weren’t from Lincoln.”

On his approach to the game, Cowley said:

“We’ve experienced these games before, and we know what they entail. We know how to win these games because we’ve won one before.
“When you go to Goodison Park and you’re playing a team with the quality of Everton, It’s like climbing a mountain.
“But with these games, you have to believe you can win.”

The last time Cowley’s side were in the 3rd round, they travelled to Championship side Ipswich as a non-league team. Forcing them into a replay, before incredibly beating them at Sincil Bank. Here’s hoping that lightning does indeed, strike twice.

Cowley on transfers

With the January transfer window now open, clubs are free to buy and sell players. As Cowley has emphasised that he would ideally like to do some recruiting this month, with aiding promotion clearly on the agenda.

Although the Lincoln boss has admitted that fans shouldn’t expect anything major to occur before the trip to Everton. With the game itself being their key focus at the moment.

He said:

“We don’t anticipate doing anything either way before Saturday. We had a good day of recruitment yesterday, as well as trying to watch Everton and work out exactly how to be competitive in that game.”

On Jayden Stockley’s transfer to Preston, Cowley said:

“It’s gone mad football, hasn’t it? Gone crazy. If we can’t sign good players in League Two, let’s hope those good players leave League Two.”

Lincoln will no doubt be on the lookout for potential signings this month. And Cowley will be aware of which players are available to him, as well as who will be able to help their already successful season.