Lincoln City goalkeeper Paul Farman believes that the Imps will face a tough task as they target a place at Wembley in the Buildbase FA Trophy Final.
The Imps saw their Wembley dreams in the FA Cup ended by Premier League giants Arsenal on Saturday, but now, just three days later, they will face York City in the last four of the FA Trophy.
Tuesday night’s first leg at Bootham Crescent offers Farman and his team mates a stern test, with the Minstermen much improved since Gary Mills returned to the club in mid-October.
Although they still sit in the Vanarama National League relegation zone, they have notched up some notable results in recent weeks, including wins over the likes of Barrow and Eastleigh and a draw with the Imps just two weeks ago.
And Farman saw enough in that game to know that his side will face a side he believes “shouldn’t be where they are in the table”.
The stopper said “They have picked up and they have improved massively, I think everyone knows that.
“They have signed some very, very good players and to be honest they shouldn’t be where they are in the table. They are so much better than that.
“It’s a tough game and I am sure the stadium will be packed.
“It’s two in-form sides going up against each other and anything can happen.
“We will have to be at our best
“We spoke today in training about putting Arsenal behind us. We were asked how we were feeling and it was positive. We have a great game to go into.
There were 9,000 behind us at the Emirates, if we got to Wembley I think we could take 40,000 with us. That is our motivation”
These are exciting times for Lincoln City, with the club sat top of the National League and just one round away from a Wembley date in the Trophy.
Their historic FA Cup run may be over, but it has breathed life into the club’s fanbase and the city as a whole.
Demand for tickets for the semi-final first leg has been high, something Farman admits has been a motivational factor for him and his team mates.
“I drove into training this morning and you see huge queues of supporters waiting to get tickets for the game.
“We are doing our best and you can’t help but continue giving your all when you see the fans giving their all to support us.
“It’s a massive boost and it’s something that is driving us all on”.
Spirits are still high at Sincil Bank, despite Saturday’s FA Cup Quarter Final exit at the hands of Arsenal.
The Imps held out for forty five minutes, until a first half injury time goal from England international Theo Walcott sent the Gunners into the break with the lead.
The Premier League quality shone through in the end, with Arsene Wenger’s side running out 5-0 winners.
Despite the heavy defeat Farman described the game as “an unbelievable experience” as the Imps pitted their wits against the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giround and Mesut Ozil.
“It was a day none of us will forget, despite the result.
“I had my family and my partner at the game, it meant a lot to us all.
“When we found out what team they were putting out it just added to the experience. They had all of their big dogs out so it made it even more of a big occasion.
“It was an unbelievable experience and one that I will take with my throughout the rest of my career”
Newcastle-born Farman’s career has taken him to the likes of Blyth Spartans and Gateshead, before moving to Lincoln City in 2011.
A loan deal was made permanent in the summer of 2012 and since then he has established himself as the club’s number one.
For all of his progression in his career he is yet to play at Wembley, something he admitted to dreaming about ahead of the semi-final tie against York City.
“Of course you think about it, you can’t help it really.
“As non-league players we don’t often get a chance to play at Wembley. There is really only the FA Trophy or the Promotion final, and with all due respect we don’t really want to be in that this season because we want to go up as champions.
“We have a chance to get to Wembley so the thought is always there for us.
“When you retire you will look back on days like we have experienced in the FA Cup and things like playing at Wembley.
“You dream of them during your career, but we have a job to do against York and it won’t be easy for us”
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: Reuters Media