Belfast Telegraph

Fairytale run will stand Lincoln in good stead in future: Cowley

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Danny Cowley knows Lincoln’s FA Cup fairytale may come to an end at Arsenal today, but believes whatever the outcome everyone at the club will be better for the experience.

The National League leaders have captured the imagination with a run which started in the fourth qualifying round against Guiseley.

The Imps upset Sky Bet Championship side Ipswich following a third-round replay and then Brighton ahead of beating Premier League Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor.

Lincoln’s place in history is already secure after becoming the first non-league team since 1914 to reach the quarter-finals.

And Cowley feels the lessons he, his assistant manager, brother Nicky, and their entire squad will have learned will prove hugely beneficial.

“We are going to try to learn loads, because that is the best thing this FA Cup journey has given us,” Cowley said.

“We have had the opportunity to pit our wits against the very best, the opportunity to be involved in really big games.

“We are determined to come out better from this experience.

“We respect that, sooner or later, we will be old news, but that is fine by us as long as when the dust does settles we have learnt from the experience.

“If we can play at our very best under the scrutiny of playing against world-class players, in front of 60,000 at a fantastic stadium, then we will be better individually and collectively.”

While being realistic over the prospect of his team upsetting the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium, where the Imps are set to bring some 9,000 supporters, Cowley is determined not to let the occasion get to his side.

“We understand that the chance is probably one in a thousand, but we will go there with the belief that this can be the one time,” said Cowley. “We will go there with a game plan.

“I would never do the disservice to my players to tell them to just enjoy the day. We are professional people, we work every day for this, it is our lives.

“We have to put emotion to one side and also have clear minds. We know what is in front of us, but it is not every Saturday you wake up with such an opportunity.”

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