Lincoln United's Matt Cotton

Lincoln United star Matt Cotton returns to the club ahead of their Isuzu FA Vase semi-final.

The versatile midfielder and forward, who left in January to go travelling, has made his return to Ashby Avenue just days before Chris Funnell’s side travel to Romford FC.

Cotton was the club captain before he left in January to go on a “gap year” of travelling.

However, he has cut his travelling short in the hopes of helping The Whites get to Wembley in the FA Vase final.

Club chairman Allen Crombie said: “I wasn’t surprised when Chris [Funnell] told me, ‘Matt’s thinking of coming back’.”

Lincoln United's Matt Cotton
Cotton was captain before his exit. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

“Matt Cotton is the best player in our league and he’s gone away travelling, which every young man wants to do with his girlfriend, but as soon as we got into the semi-finals I wasn’t surprised to see Matt coming back,” he added.

Cotton returned to Ashby Avenue at the start of the 2020/21 season, having shone in a prior spell for the club.

Crombie added: “I’m really delighted he’s coming back, because he’s been a huge part of this football club over the years.”

Cotton scored the winner in The Whites’ Lincolnshire County Cup victory in 2017, their last piece of silverware before the County Trophy win last week.

Lincoln United's Matt Cotton
The Whites’ are looking to make the FA Vase final for the first time in their history. Credit: Ed Mayes Photography

United manager Chris Funnell echoed the chairman’s sentiments, saying: “Obviously I’m really pleased and delighted because he’s a really good player. We didn’t want to lose him in the first instance, but life dictates otherwise, so just really pleased to have him back.”

“He was, in my opinion, the best player in the league above and comfortably a very good step-three player. So, he’s massive for us, he lifts the lads because he’s seen as a talisman,” he added.

Talisman Cotton notched 21 goals in his 22 appearances before leaving earlier this season.

Funnell said: “He’s a goal scorer and a winner, so I’m convinced he’ll play a bit part between now and the end of the season.”

The Whites travel to Essex for the first leg of their tie on Saturday, March 30, before hosting Romford the following Saturday in the return fixture.

Feature Image Credit: Ed Mayes Photography