Everton v Lincoln City

It may only be January, but it already feels like the FA Cup is the only saving grace for Everton’s indifferent first season under Marco Silva.

Of course the Portuguese needs time and transfer windows to implement his own ethos on the club. But after just one win in seven league outings and with the club sitting in 11th after 21 fixtures, an FA Cup run is crucial.

24 long years have passed since Paul Rideout’s goal sealed the 1995 Football Association Challenge Cup, the last trophy in Everton’s history.

Generations of supporters have never seen their side win a cup and Silva of all people knows that must change.

Silva is a man who knows how to mastermind a cup win, he guided Sporting Lisbon to the Taça de Portugal in 2015.

After being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Southampton at Goodison in October, the 41-year-old will be desperate not to make the same mistakes.

But Lincoln won’t be pushovers when they make the trip to L4.

The Imps are currently sitting top of League Two after 25 games, four points above closest rivals MK Dons. They have enjoyed an emphatic rise under manager Danny Cowley, only gaining promotion to the football league in 2017.

In their first season back in the fourth tier of English football, they finished seventh and this campaign is looking even better.

City are set to bring over 6,000 fans to Goodison, with numerous set to infiltrate the home end to see their side take on a Premier League outfit. They downed Carlisle 2-0 in the second round to set up this tie.

Lincoln have only lost one of their last six clashes, winning four.

Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet since a 1-0 win over Cardiff eight games ago, so Lincoln’s frontline will be confident of exploiting the Blues’ defensive frailties.

Team news

It is unclear whether or not Silva will rotate his squad to give bit part players such a Leighton Baines, Morgan Schneiderlin, Maarten Stekelenburg, Phil Jagielka and Cenk Tosun a run out. Evertonians across the land will be hoping for a full strength starting 11, though. The Toffees’ next fixture takes place eight days after Lincoln against Bournemouth so there is no true incentive to rest key figureheads.

Ademola Lookman has recovered from an injury and is once again fit for selection.

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