Simpson urges professionalism against Stalybridge

Lincoln City manager Gary Simpson believes his side are the favourites going into their FA Trophy match against Stalybridge Celtic.

Gary Simpson urged caution ahead of the FA Trophy game. Photo: Paul Battison

Despite those words, he warned that their opponents cannot be taken lightly while speaking at his pre-match press conference.

The Imps go into the game having been denied three points by a late Frankie Artus goal against Hereford on Saturday.

“They’re a full-time club, they’ve got good footballers and on the day they can conjure a problem. It’s up to us to be professional, work as hard as them and hopefully the quality of the players we’ve got will come to the forefront,” said Simpson.

“We know one or two of their players and how they play. They play their little triangles, they train every day and have got a bit of pace up front. All things being equal, we’re at home. I suppose we’re the favourites and on that score we’ve got to go and deal with the job and get it done,” he continued.

Stalybridge Celtic currently play in the Conference North. The Imps boss looked back at the games against Worcester, who are also a league below them.

He said: “Anything can happen on the day. [When they played Worcester in the FA Cup], in the first half we were probably lucky in some respects. In the second game here, we dealt with it more comfortably.

“We played Plymouth here and on the day we might have won it. We went down there and made a few mistakes and get a bit of a spanking.”

With the transfer deadline for lower league clubs being today, Simpson revealed he was waiting on some calls regarding potential transfers for the club.

“We might get a bit of movement, we’re hoping so. With [Andrew] Boyce going, hopefully it has freed a little bit [of money] up. Hopefully, I can go for someone a little bit more proven,” he said.

Ben Tomlinson will be suspended for the game which gives Simpson a selection headache.

“He’s completely hit the ball bang in the middle. He’s won the ball because he’s straight-legged. His foot’s a bit off the ground and they class it as intent now. We can appeal it but it’s a waste of time,” he added.

Striker Chris Sharp also spoke at the press conference and said that he would love to fill the gap left by Tomlinson’s ban.

“I rate my chances. All the strikers are looking at the same thing and are looking at this week in training. If they give a good account of themselves there’s every possibility they could get the chance to start on Saturday,” the on-loan striker said.

If Lincoln City reach the final of the FA Trophy, they would get the chance to play at Wembley which Sharp said is an exciting prospect for footballers.

He continued: “It’s the pinnacle of any footballer’s career is an opportunity to play at Wembley and I don’t think it matters whether it be FA Cup, FA Trophy, another competition or even a little friendly game for five-a-side. It’s a great opportunity.”

The forward has two games left on his loan deal from Hereford United but he has not ruled out the possibility of staying on.

He added: “If everything goes well and the manager wants to keep me for another month or however long then that would be great.

I’m enjoying playing football just now which is something I’ve not had an opportunity to do this season. The manager gave me that chance so hopefully I can repay him and maybe it’ll go on a little bit longer. It would also be nice to get a goal on my home debut.”

The game takes place at the Gelder Group Sincil Bank Stadium and it kicks off at three o’clock.

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