In theory a side that sits top of the Championship should beat a team three divisions below them.

That’s the theory out of the way. I was never a fan.

In practice however, Lincoln City have a wonderful opportunity of rocketing into the Fifth Round of the world’s oldest cup competition.

How come?

  1. First of all the fitness levels between the two sides will be exactly the same. Both clubs are obviously full time and can therefore focus on fitness, stamina and recovery for their charges.

But wait. There are three sports scientists at Lincoln who have ensured that every player has his own personal fitness programme which enables them to play 50 games a season.

Advantage Lincoln.

2.  The crowd will play a huge part in the battle. Just over 8,000 home supporters will drown out the cheers from the opposition.

Danny Cowley has urged the fervent Imps’ fans to be the 12th, 13th and 14th man on the pitch!

Advantage Lincoln.

3. Brighton may be used to playing in front of big crowds like St James’ Park but they are not used to plying their trade at smaller, more compact stadia like Sincil Bank where the atmosphere will be literally ‘in their face’.

Advantage Lincoln

4. Brighton players will be subconsciously thinking they should hammer a team so far below them in terms of ability and position in the football ladder. This could well lead to over-confidence.

Advantage Lincoln

5. Anything can happen in the FA Cup. Remember Colchester/ Leeds, Newcastle/Hereford, Sunderland/ Leeds.

Advantage Lincoln

6. Brighton will not send their first team squad because they have eyes on promotion to the Promised Land that is the Premier League.

Advantage Lincoln

6. Mix together all the above ingredients and add a little extra salt to the Brighton wound by reminding them that their opponents tomorrow have already seen off the likes of Oldham Athletic and Ipswich.

Advantage Lincoln

7. At 3pm tomorrow both teams will line up with 11 men and the ball will be round. Those are facts.



Peter Hayward







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