Lincoln City and manager Danny Cowley will welcome Championship side Ipswich Town to Sincil Bank in a well deserved FA Cup Third Round replay.
The Tractor Boys will not fancy a trip to Lincoln on Tuesday night due to their recent struggles under Mick McCarthy. Lincoln have sold all of their tickets for the replay in what is likely to be an incredible atmosphere.
How they've fared so far
Lincoln are currently enjoying their best season since their relegation from the Football League in 2011. The new management duo of Danny and Nicky Cowley have remarkably turned the club around in a very short period of time and made The Imps genuine promotion contenders.
The investment from South African investor Clive Nates has been vital to Lincoln's success this season. Without this investment, the club would not have been able to secure the services of the Cowley brothers to start with and therefore would never have had all the success which has followed. The success of the management duo has not gone unoticed and clubs such as Grimsby Town and Notts County were both said to be interested in securing their services.
Lincoln currently find themselves sat top of the National League table, two points clear of second place Forest Green Rovers with an additional two games in hand. This is a superb achievement by all involved at the club to get into such a fantastic position. Many believe that Tranmere Rovers are the only realistic threat to their title charge.
The Imps had gone on a remarkable 17 game unbeaten run in all competitions before they lost 2-1 away to Guiseley on Boxing Day. However, they have again responded incredibly well to this defeat with two impressive results. They got revenge on Guiseley as they beat them 3-1 at Sincil Bank on New Year's Day and then followed this result up with a superb performance away at Ipswich Town in which they earned a replay with a 2-2 draw. Most recently, the Imps achieved a 3-1 win away at Gateshead in the FA Trophy in which Cowley fielded a much changed side.
As the fixtures pile up for the non-league side, Cowley is under no illusions as to how difficult the replay will be for the club. However, they are confident that they can progress to the Fourth Round and set up a tie against Brighton & Hove Albion at Sincil Bank. This would be a huge achievement for any non-league club and Lincoln may even fancy their chances of progressing once again.
As for Ipswich, they have been really struggling in the Championship of late as Mick McCarthy has come under increased scrutiny from Town supporters. Ipswich currently find themselves sat 14th in the league table, eleven points off the play-offs and ten off the relegation places in what appears to be a season of mid-table mediocrity.
Mick McCarthy got a much needed win on Saturday afternoon as his side beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 at Portman Road. Ipswich are relying heavily on the goals of Leicester loanee Tom Lawrence as he scored twice and assisted again in this victory. He is a player in superb form and it would be a surprise if his parent club Leicester didn't consider recalling him from his loan considering the poor form they are in themselves.
McCarthy will be hoping that Lawrence can continue his form at Sincil Bank on Tuesday night. It could prove to be a pivotal game for McCarthy as a defeat in the third round of the FA Cup would be something which could put his job under severe threat. Many Ipswich fans would even be pleased to see Lincoln progress if it result in McCarthy being given the sack by the Ipswich board.
Last time they met
Lincoln last played Ipswich in that momentous day at Portman Road just over a week ago in the FA Cup Third Round as the two teams drew 2-2. It was arguably Lincoln's best result for many years as Theo Robinson grabbed a brace. Tom Lawrence had to score two superb goals to peg Lincoln back both times just to force a replay. Mick McCarthy admitted after the match that Lincoln played very well and perhaps deserved to go through to the next round.
This was the first meeting between the two sides since 1961. Both Lincoln and Ipswich found themselves in League 2 in the 1960/61 season with Ipswich coming out on top in both games with a 3-1 win at home and an emphatic 4-1 win away.
Lincoln manager Danny Cowley rested many key figures in their FA Trophy game away at Gateshead on Saturday and is likely to recall many of these key individuals for this game in front of a sell-out crowd. The likes of Luke Waterfall, Nathan Arnold and Theo Robinson didn't even travel to the game on Saturday afternoon but they are likely to be key figures again on Tuesday night as they were in the original match.
Due to the high level of performance against Ipswich last time out, Cowley could decided to stick with exactly the same line-up of Farman, Wood, Waterfall, Raggett, Habergham, Hawkridge, Woodyard, Power, Arnold, Robinson and Rhead.
Mick McCarthy may be tempted to make changes to his Ipswich team with this game coming in between two important Championship matches. Ipswich return to Championship action at the weekend as they face high flying Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium. However, on the other hand McCarthy may field a strong team if he feels his job may be on the line.
This could see Town field a similar line-up to when they last faced Lincoln including the likes of Gerken, Emmanuel, Webster, Berra, Knudsen, Grant Ward, Bru, Dozzell, Lawrence, Pitman and Sears. This is a strong line-up and one which should be able to do the job and see Ipswich progress to the fourth round of the competition.