Boreham Wood boss Luke Garrard is under no illusions at how tough a test his side faces against Emirates FA Cup quarter-finalists Lincoln City at the same stage of The Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday.
With a place in the semi-finals at stake, Garrard believes Danny Cowley will have refocused his National League leaders to move on from their spectacular 1-0 victory over Premier League outfit Burnley at Turf Moor.
- The Buildbase FA Trophy
- Fourth Round Proper
- 3pm, Saturday 25 February 2017
- Meadow Park, Boreham Wood FC
- By Jimmy Booker
And Garrard, who became the youngest boss in England’s top five divisions when he landed the Boreham Wood job in October 2015 – aged 30 – expects Lincoln not to be distracted by their high-profile heroics and give his side a sniff on Saturday.
“We’re expecting a very competitive game against Lincoln, they’re going to come here with the same intensity that they had in The FA Cup,” said Garrard.
“They’re fighting on three fronts at the minute [the National League, The FA Cup and The FA Trophy], they’ll compete in every game to the very best of their ability.
“I can imagine they’ll be a bit fatigued, but I know how Danny Cowley sets up his teams – he’ll take every game as it comes, he’s got bodies in there that can come in and be fresh.
“I think it’s going to be a very tough test, he’s going to get his team up for it all week.”
Boreham Wood are 13th in the National League, with Lincoln top of the pile and three points clear of Dagenham & Redbridge with two games in hand.
With fighting for promotion unlikely from the start, Garrard has revealed progress in The FA Trophy was right at the top of their agenda this season.
“We set our stall out from the off that we wanted to go as far as we can in The Trophy this year,” he said.
“The club got to the semi-finals when they were in Isthmian Division One, so it would be great to recapture that accolade if we can.
“Saturday’s game is massive, we know how much of a focus we’ve put on it this year.
“It’s so motivational – the result is to travel up Wembley Way, but it’s still a long way away.
“We’ve got Lincoln, and if we get through that, we got even tougher ties, but you get that little bit closer to Wembley.”
Garrard also believes The FA Cup exploits of Lincoln and Sutton United have done wonders for the reputation of the quality of the National League.
“Across the board, the reputation of the National League has got a lot better, I think Jamie Vardy helps that as well,” he said.
“There are players at this level that, for whatever reason, haven’t progressed. But they will progress.
“What Sutton and Lincoln have done for us is immense - I think it’s been very positive on all fronts for the National League.”
Buildbase FA Trophy history
This is only the second time in Boreham Wood’s history they have reached this stage of the competition. Their best-ever run came in 2005-06, when they were defeated over two legs in the semi-finals by Woking. Lincoln are only competing in The Trophy for the seventh time in their history, and reached the same stage in 1988, when they were knocked out by Enfield.
Did you know?
Actor, comedian and television presenter Bradley Walsh started out life as a footballer. The Watford-born star had a spell at Boreham Wood, and also turned out for Brentford, Chalfont St Peter, Tring Town, Barnet and Dunstable Town.
One to watch?
One Boreham Wood player Danny Cowley must keep his eye on is leading scorer Morgan Ferrier. The 22-year-old striker has 11 goals in all competitions and will provide the most potent threat to the Imps backline. He is a former Arsenal and Crystal Palace youngster, who moved to Meadow Park after spells at Bishop’s Stortford and Hemel Hempstead Town.
The winners will move through to Monday’s semi-final draw and pocket £8,000 in prize money.