Giantkillers Lincoln City ready to make FA Cup history against Arsenal

Enda Brady, News Correspondent

Giantkillers Lincoln City will make history later when they face Arsenal and become the first non-league side since 1914 to play in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Imps are just 90 minutes away from what would be the club's first ever Wembley appearance in their 133-year history, though manager Danny Cowley says Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has "forgotten more about football than I will ever learn".

The non-league side had to play a qualifying round to even get into the FA Cup first round proper and have sold more than 9,000 tickets for the clash at Emirates Stadium.

That is almost enough fans to fill their entire home stadium - and they have been making their presence felt in London.

The Edward Lear pub in Islington has been renamed The Lincoln Imp for the day, while Covent Garden station was forced to close due to smoke from flares set off by fans travelling to the game.

The Metropolitan Police's football unit tweeted: "Due to smoke from flares entering Covent Garden Tube the station has been closed. Use Leicester Sq or Holborn tube instead #TeamLincoln."

Lincoln face the 13-time league champions at a time when their manager is under increasing pressure after their midweek Champions League exit to Bayern Munich.

"If you look at what he did with the Invincibles squad (going a season unbeaten), that will probably never be done again in English football," said Cowley.

"We've got huge respect for him as a man and as a manager.

"But the focus is on us and we will set out to give the very best version of ourselves. We want to be us, that's very important to us.

"It would be easy to think negatively and 'park the bus', but that would be doing ourselves a disservice."

The money generated from their fairytale FA Cup run will help Lincoln in their push towards regaining their league status and mounting a serious attempt to get promoted to League Two in the near future.

"In recent years it has been a bit of a struggle financially," club director Roger Bates told Sky News at Braintree Town, where the Imps ran out 4-0 winners in their midweek National League match.

"We have been able to stabilise recently with investment coming into the club and what we have achieved this year does enable us to put out a competitive budget in the football league."

Wenger, meanwhile, has responded to reports of training ground disharmony at the Gunners, telling a pre-match news conference that his squad is united.

"We have got a good, united group, a determined group," he said.

"When you go through disappointing results you always have disagreements, but the best way to respond is in the next game and show how united and determined we are.

"On that front I don't worry. In our job you have to be competitive, it's about performing."

The Gunners are the overwhelming favourites to advance to yet another FA Cup semi-final, but Lincoln's manager says there's a tiny chance his team can again cause a cup shock.

"I think there's a one in a thousand chance for us," said Cowley.

"We have to believe that this could be our one day."

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