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Lincoln City Verging On Promotion Back To Football League

Sunday 16th April 2017
After a dramatic victory on Good Friday, the Imps are almost over the line. Will Lincoln City make it back to the Football League's promised land?

Last summer, Danny Cowley, previously at Braintree Town, came in as Lincoln City manager. Few would have predicted his impact.

The Imps are five points clear atop the National Premier with four games left. Their two nearest promotion rivals have only three games remaining. Promotion could be sealed by Bank Holiday Monday.

FA Cup Run

This season, the Imps stepped into the limelight when they became the first non-league side since Queens Park Rangers, in 1914, to reach the FA Cup's last eight.

Entering the competition in the final qualifying round, they overcame Guiseley and Altrincham before causing some real shocks. They beat League One side Oldham Athletic before victories on TV against Championship clubs Ipswich Town and high flying Brighton Hove Albion.

Having reached the last 16, Lincoln produced one of the biggest shocks in FA Cup history. A dramatic late winner gave them a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor against Premiership side Burnley. Their run ended at the Emirates, where Arsenal thumped them 5-0. It did not matter; the players had written themselves into the history books.

Despite their FA Cup success, Lincoln City have been longing for a goal just as important: promotion back to the Football League.
Return to the Football League?

The National Premier has only one automatic promotion slot, followed by four play-off places.

Lincoln City wears an unwanted tag for having being demoted from the Football League more than any club. Their ousters in 1908, 1911, 1920, 1987, and 2011, total five. With 2011's exception, the Imps have gone straight back up at the first time asking. Yet the task has become much harder over the years.

Since relegation, six years ago, their best finish in the National Premier had been last year's thirteenth. Every other season was spent in the Northern Premier Division's bottom half, often fighting regulation.

This campaign began similarly. The Imps claimed only one point from their first three games. In early October, they turned it around, going on a seventeen-game unbeaten run in all competitions that carried them to the top. They've beaten second place Tranmere Rovers 2-1 in both league meetings, which has proved crucial. Lincoln has completed the double over third placed Forest Green Rovers, too.

Only Tranmere can catch them at this stage. Their three remaining games come against Maidstone United and Guiseley, both still battling relegation, and Southport, currently league bottom

Lincoln's final two games are also against Maidstone and Southport. However, they first play Gateshead and Macclesfield Town, a pair among the Northern Premier Division's top ten. The Imp's trip to Gateshead is live on BT Sport on Bank Holiday Monday from 2:30pm.

After a fantastic season, Lincoln City are four games from capping a near-perfect campaign. Surely this is their year.
Simon Hahn

Lifelong sufferer following Darlington FC from League Two to the Northern League. Freelance Sports and data journalist. Living for 3pm on Saturday.

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