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Lincoln vs Everton match preview - can Toffees avoid a cup upset?

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The Blues begin their Carabao Cup campaign at Sincil Bank

Everton v Lincoln City - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Emma SimpsonEverton FC via Getty Images

After their below-par display in Friday’s game at Aston Villa, the last thing Everton need is a tricky cup tie away at lower division opposition live in front of the TV cameras.

But that is exactly what they have as the Toffees head to the East Midlands to take on League One side Lincoln, with Sky Sports bringing their cameras along for the ride in anticipation of an upset.

Aston Villa v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

There was a huge amount of frustration at Friday’s performance at Villa Park. Despite enjoying the majority of possession a familiar failing - namely an inability to break through a deep block - again haunted them.

That said, they created three gilt-edged opportunities but a combination of bad luck (Alex Iwobi) and poor finishing (DCL, Theo Walcott) meant they missed all of them.

It places even greater importance on Wednesday’s game as they look to both bounce back and avoid the embarrassment of a cup shock.

The supporters have made it clear that they want Marco Silva to take the cups seriously this season as we prepare to enter a 25th year without a trophy.

Silva was heavily criticised last season for naming a weakened side against Southampton in the Carabao Cup, with the Toffees ultimately crashing out on penalties.

To that end, I expect him to name a strong side to give him the best chance of avoiding another damaging defeat that would put him under pressure even at this early stage of the season.

The opposition

Lincoln City v Southend United - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Lincoln a familiar opponents to Everton having only played the Imps back in January. The Toffees won that day but it was a far from straight forward 2-1 victory.

Danny Cowley’s side went on to storm to the League Two title, amassing 86 points, and sealing a return to the English third tier for the first time in 20 years.

They were particularly strong at home, losing just two of their 23 league games at Sincil Bank last campaign and have won both their home games so far this season.

It means they have made a solid start to life back in League One, winning three of their five league games so far to sit in seventh, just outside the play-offs.

They also caused a shock in the first round of the Carabao Cup after beating Championship side Huddersfield 1-0 at the John Smith’s Stadium.

This is going to be far from straight forward.

Last meeting

Everton 2-1 Lincoln - FA Cup third round, January 5 2019 (match report)

Everton edged their way through to the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in three years thanks to goals from Ademola Lookman and Bernard.

Everton v Lincoln City - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Recent form

Everton

Aston Villa (a) Lost 2-1

Crystal Palace (a) Drew 0-0

Watford (h) Won 1-0

Lincoln

Doncaster (a) Lost 2-1

MK Dons (h) Lost 2-1

Southend (h) Won 4-0

Huddersfield (a - Carabao Cup) Won 1-0

Rotherham (a) Won 2-0

What they said

Everton manager Marco Silva: “Lincoln is a team we know very well, we played against them last season, and they know us well.

“Playing in this competition for us we are going to play with our maximum ambition. We are going to go step by step, but with full ambition in this competition to do something special.

“Maximum respect to our opponents, and to the competition as well. If we want to do something special in both cups, the most important is tomorrow because we are here now.

“It doesn’t make sense to make rotation just for the sake of making a rotation. We will play with the XI that I think is the best XI to win the match.”

Lincoln boss Danny Cowley: “We looked back at the video from the game against them last season, there is lots of learning to take from that game and we still have around 90% of the group still here,” said Danny.

“They are a Premier League team with world class players and a world class manager who will provide a real test for us.

“We are looking forward to the challenge ahead of us, you always learn against the best players and best teams.

“It will be a real test for us, there is no hiding from that but we are really excited about the test Everton will provide.”

Doncaster Rovers v Lincoln City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Chris Vaughan - CameraSport via Getty Images

Team news

Everton will be without Jean-Philippe Gbamin after it was confirmed the midfielder will be sidelined for up to three months with a thigh injury. Fellow summer signing Fabian Delph is fit again after a thigh injury of his own and could make his debut.

Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean could also be handed their first starts after coming off the bench against Villa on Friday.

Final Word

This is a much trickier tie than we all hoped for at this early stage of the season, made even tougher following Friday’s poor result and injuries to key players.

Everton are, of course, more than good enough to get a result provided they take the game seriously and play to their potential.

That is easier said than done though and the presence of the TV cameras is evidence enough of how tough it could be if they aren’t on the ball.