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Thursday 17 August 2017

Imps are ready to face up to the Gunners

Lincoln’s Sean Long
Lincoln’s Sean Long

No one really expects the non-leaguers from Lincoln City to go to London tomorrow and inflict even more misery on an Arsenal side still bruised by their crushing defeat in Europe in midweek.

But then again no one, outside of their own camp, predicted that the team they call the Imps could knock out two Championship teams and then win away to a Premier League side, so when the Lincoln boys head south, destined for the Emirates, they travel with more than a bit of hope in their hearts.

"Our manager says, if the odds of beating Ipswich were 100/1, what are the odds of us beating Ipswich, Brighton and Burnley?" answers Sean Long, the Dublin-born defender who is on loan Lincoln from Reading this season.

"The odds keep going up and if there is a one in a thousand chance of us beating Arsenal, then we will take that. We all believe we can do it, we have that belief and determination within the group."

The Lincoln lads were unable to watch live as Arsenal were humbled by Bayern Munich as they had a big game of their own.

"I didn't see their midweek game live as we had our own match but I have watched it back, they are on the back of another heavy defeat so I am sure they will want a reaction on Saturday.

"It's up to us to have a game plan and do our job against them," added Long.

"It's a chance for us, as they are at a low ebb, we hope they are still at a low ebb and there is massive pressure on them, as a team and a club, and hopefully that works in our favour. Either way, we have to respect them, they have world-class players and a world-class manager, it's our job to try and get the better of them."

An injury picked up on league duty against York City two weeks ago means that Long (21) has to watch the Arsenal game from the stands, though he says - and it's not that much of a joke - that he will be back fit for the semi-final.

"I will travel down with the group as I don't want to miss any treatment, I will be in and around the lads and it will good to soak it all up at the Emirates," says Long.

Having served a long apprenticeship at Reading, the former Cherry Orchard and St Francis man is out of contract with that club at the end of the season and a long-term stay at Lincoln is possible.

"We have a lot to play for, getting promoted is the main aim but we have worked hard to get this far in the Cup, why can't we keep that up?"

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