CHRIS Graham (@ChrisGraham79) previews Lincoln’s trip to Burnley in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Burnley v Lincoln | Saturday 12:30 | BT Sport 2
You have to feel sorry for Lincoln. This was truly the worst possible draw and everything their endeavours didn’t deserve. This looks an unwinnable fixture against a Premier League club only in name. Can you imagine Lincoln players telling their grandkids, “I once played at Turf Moor, son”. Nope, me neither.
Burnley fans may think I’m a knob for that opening paragraph but deep down they may agree. But anyway, my relationship with the North West club this season has been hugely fruitful. I’ve backed them at home on numerous occasions and have enormous respect for what they’ve achieved in 2016/17.
The office debate this week has centred around Sean Dyche’s side. Should the gruff-voiced bloke’s bloke play a strong side on Saturday? With his side 10 points clear of the drop zone and the nights getting lighter why the hell not? But then again, it’s only 10 points and not 20, and best not clog up the calendar for the club’s finest recruits eh?
I’m kind of in the middle to be honest. The fact his side are taking on a non-league team and that it’s at Turf Moor must make the thought of dropping some key players irresistible but the lure of a Quarter-Final berth and the seven day rest after this will surely see him bulk up in quality.
Lincoln are a credit. Even with this match looming they’ve remained professional and won three games on the bounce to remain top of the National League. Promotion looks thoroughly deserved.
In terms of their FA Cup record this season, crucially they’ve beaten the three Football League teams on home turf. Their one away trip was a draw against an unconfident Ipswich side. This looks a big step up in class.
Unlike Sutton, who seem to have taken their foot off the pedal in recent weeks, the Lincoln players have been at full pelt in recent weeks with that elusive National League title beckoning. We may see some tired players deep into the game on Saturday afternoon.
You’ll all be aware of Burnley’s stunning home record this season. P14 W9 D2 L3 are the best form figures for a promoted side in the Premier League era.
While I don’t expect them to be reaching the Turf Moor levels they’ve reached against Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea et al, they should have enough to win snugly here.
This all might be too much for Lincoln and the brick wall of Burnley looks too hard to penetrate. 188BET are offering 6/7 on Burnley winning by two or more and I’ll be backing that.
Burnley v Lincoln – Burnley -1.5 (6/7 188BET)