Rowe: Everyone is Fully Aware of What Happened Last Time We Played Lincoln
Thursday, 7th Nov 2019 19:45
Most fans would probably agree that a lot of the gloss once associated with the FA Cup has diminished over the years, predominantly because top-flight bosses put Premier League success – whether it’s chasing glory or merely ensuring survival – as their number one priority.
Even Championship managers, notably including ex-Town chief Mick McCarthy, have fielded weakened sides in the famous cup competition, such is the obsession about placing league status ahead of everything else, much to the chagrin of supporters up and down the country who would rather see their clubs 'have a go' in the pursuit of possible glory at Wembley.
So, as Town prepare for their all-League One first round tie against Lincoln on Saturday, do players in 2019 still regard the FA Cup as a special competition?
Without hesitation, Town winger Danny Rowe said: “Yes, definitely, and I think it always has been. I can still remember being on the other end of it when I was playing lower down and it’s always been special to me.
"One memory of mine was when I was at Macclesfield and we played Sheffield Wednesday at home in the third round. We were winning 1-0 until they equalised quite late on.
“In the replay at Hillsborough we went 1-0 soon after the kick-off but we equalised about half-way through the second half and were giving a good account of ourselves.
“It wasn’t until they scored a second goal with about 10 minutes left that the game swung their way and they got two more very late on to make it 4-1, which was a little bit harsh on us.
“It’s the looking forward to the games that makes it so exciting. I don’t suppose the Wednesday players were looking forward to it as much as we were.
“We were National League at the time and really fired up for it because when you’re playing at that level you are looking to show you can do it on a bigger stage. That’s why you get the upsets.”
Every year there seems to be a club defying the odds to reach an advanced stage of the competition and Rowe believes Lincoln, the club for whom he played on loan in each of the last two seasons, are a perfect example after their incredible run in the 2016/17 competition.
“When they were in the National League they went all the way to the quarter-finals, so it just shows that anyone can do it,” he added.
“That’s why everyone loves the FA Cup. The excitement starts when they are drawing the balls out and all the lower league clubs are looking for a special tie against one of the big boys.
Of course, Saturday’s tie brings back grim memories for Town fans after they saw their team embarrassed by the Imps over two games at the third round stage in 2017.
The visitors thrilled their large following by drawing 2-2 at Portman Road and then snatching victory in the Sincil Bank replay, a result they would like to see avenged by Paul Lambert’s men this weekend.
Rowe also recalls what was a humiliating occasion for everyone associated with Ipswich Town, little realising that within a few days he would be leaving Macclesfield to head for Portman Road.
He said: “I remember watching the game on TV – it was live on BBC1 – and thinking ‘Wow, Lincoln are doing well’ and then I got the call to say I was going to Ipswich. It’s one of those moments you don’t forget.”
Several Town players, including vastly experienced pair Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse, have yet to experience an FA Cup win, the club being eliminated at the third round stage every season since 2011, and Rowe added: “They haven’t forgotten what happened the last time Ipswich played Lincoln.
“They’ve been talking about it this week and everyone is fully aware of it. It’s clear how hurt they were by that defeat and the club’s overall FA Cup record in the last few years.
“We’ve been working on the game at the weekend and everyone will be ready for it. We’re all fired up and the lads who come into the side are fired up because they want to hold on to their places. Hopefully, we’ll be in the hat for the next round.”
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