Belfast Telegraph

Promotion still the ultimate goal for giant-killers Lincoln

Burnley 0 - Lincoln City 1

By Duncan Bech

Nicky Cowley welcomes Lincoln City's FA Cup success but insists it is promotion to the Football League that would be a "life changer" for the club.

Sean Raggett's late winner secured a shock 1-0 win at top-flight Burnley on Saturday that means the Imps are the first non-league club since 1914 to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals, where they will face either Aresenal or Sutton United.

Tomorrow, the Vanarama National League leaders resume their quest to return to Sky Bet League Two for the first time since 2011 when they visit North Ferriby, an achievement that Cowley insists would end a period of "mourning" at Sincil Bank.

"The league is a life changer for us all," assistant manager Cowley said. "We would like to be football league challengers come May. The club got relegated five years ago and it's a fantastic club, but we haven't finished above 13th in this division since we were relegated.

"We've tried to work hard and add an enthusiasm and give the club a focus and purpose."

Lincoln's success has placed the spotlight on Nicky and his brother Danny, who is Imps manager, but they are determined not to allow their heads to be turned by the attention and the possibility for approaches from other clubs.

"We're just going to carry on being ourselves, which is down to earth, humble, hard working lads," Nicky said. "All of our players, if we looked them on the eye, would want us to be completely focused on the job ahead.

"I'm not looking beyond Tuesday and at the moment I'm sitting with Danny and looking at what players we are going to select for that game."

Lincoln are chasing silverware on three fronts, placing a significant strain on the squad, but Danny favours continuity of selection over squad rotation despite the demands on playing resources.

"We have played 46 league games and we're not playing on the quality of pitches that they have in the Premier League," Danny said.

"We've done well in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, so we've played somewhere in the region of 45 games in mid-February.

"There are arguments around player load, we understand that. Nicky and I have sports science degrees so we understand the issues. There's a balance to find.

"I look at a lot of teams that rotate and it doesn't seem to be that successful. There's a lot to be said for continuity and staying on method."

 

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