– Scott Tysoe contributed to this report.
Lincoln City manager David Holdsworth insisted that his side’s discipline in their upcoming FA Cup second round clash with Mansfield Town could well be the key to success.
The Imps face fellow Blue Square Premier side Mansfield at home on Saturday, December 1st and are bidding to reach the third round of the FA Cup for only the fourth time since 1977.
Both teams go into the game on the back of FA Trophy defeats, and City boss David Holdsworth is well aware that there will be a lot of passion in the game.
Holdsworth said: “Discipline will be key when you play in big games. This is certainly a big game for the players in terms of where we are now. We must manage our emotions and be professional, but I want the players to be passionate.’
He continued: “It’s an important factor that we have got a very good referee on Saturday. Hopefully he will have the ability to manage what will be a feisty affair I’m sure. We want to be passionate. We want to be men and to roll up our sleeves because we are going to need to. We want a bit of passion… it’s the FA Cup!”
The Imps’ ten-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of a 3-1 defeat to Tamworth last Saturday, November 24th and Mansfield also lost their own unbeaten run as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat on Tuesday, November 27th away at Tamworth.
With these runs out of the windows, Holdsworth was asked which team would be under the most pressure during the weekend’s game: “Mansfield – without a doubt. Their expectations this year are certainly a lot different to ours. I think Paul [Cox – Mansfield manager] had an interesting job in the summer and he recruited a lot of reputably very, very good players.”
He went on to say: “At this precise moment in time he may feel he has been let down by some of those players. At the moment the pressure is all on them.”
With a number of players at risk of suspension going into last week’s tie with Tamworth, the Imps boss made a number of changes to his side. When asked whether he would change back to the winning formula that had brought about the ten-game unbeaten stretch, Holdsworth replied: “We go back to Mansfield and other sides who are aiming for the top. They probably have disrupted continuity.’
He continued: “I had to have continuity inside my dressing room because we have got a small squad and, whilst we were hindered earlier in the season, I didn’t want a big squad because we are trying to give them the characteristic of togetherness.
“I can’t speak for other dressing rooms, but I know that this dressing room will stick together and whatever 11 I select to play will go out and play with pride and passion. We had a couple of niggles before the Tamworth game as a few were rested and others were given an opportunity, but everyone has come in bright and they have been a fantastic group to work with.”
It is no secret that Lincoln’s budget this season has been extremely tight so this FA Cup run will have done the club a world of good. Awaiting the victors on Saturday is £67,500 in prize money alone, so a win could be vital for the financial stability of the club.
When asked about this, Holdsworth commented: “We didn’t budget for a cup run, no club can. We’ve had two games against Halifax and against Walsall and it’s been healthy for the football club. The remuneration will be helpful.”
If Lincoln were to win at the 12th Imp Sincil Bank Stadium on Saturday everyone has their own opinion of who they would like to pull out of the hat for the third round. Should the Imps be victorious, Holdsworth wants to be drawn against whoever could help the club the most: “I want to be drawn against the team with the biggest crowd, away, because I know it would mean such a lot to this football club.”
He continued: “I mean that genuinely. If I put my heart on it, I’d want to go to Sheffield Untied or West Ham because they are the two clubs I’ve been associated with as a supporter and a player. But I want whoever brings the biggest amount of money to the club because that’s got to be the focus.
“We aren’t going to win the FA Cup, we know that, so it’s about doing the best we can for the chairman and for the supporters of this club as they’ve had a tough time and they deserve a day like Saturday. I still think the support we had at Walsall was as good as any you can get.”
Lincoln City’s match against Mansfield kicks off at 1pm on Saturday, 1st December.