Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton would “love the opportunity to win” the Papa John’s Trophy, as the Imps take on Sunderland in the semi-finals.
Appleton’s high-flying side will travel to the Stadium of Light on Wednesday evening as they challenge Sunderland for a place in the Papa John’s Trophy final at Wembley Stadium.
The Imps last reached this stage of the competition in 2018, defeating a Chelsea U21 side containing Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James on penalties, before going on to win the final in the club’s first ever visit to the home of football.
Harry Anderson is the only player to remain from that success three years ago, with Michael Appleton drawing on his impact around the dressing room.
“There’s a few players in the squad that have won big games”, Appleton said.
“In terms of his personality, Harry is huge in this group anyway, whether he’s in the team or out of the team. He’s always very vocal in the dressing room.”
Lincoln have gone to penalties three times en route to the semi-final, including group stage shootout victories over Scunthorpe United and Manchester City U21s, with Alex Palmer pulling off three superb saves to see the Imps progress against Hull City in the quarter-finals.
The Imps manager is no stranger to Wembley Stadium either, having competed in the EFL Trophy final twice at Oxford.
Appleton said: “I’ve obviously lost a couple of finals there with Oxford, with big, big crowds of over 70,000 on both occasions.
“It wasn’t a particularly good experience, but it’s an experience that I’ve had and if I’d have lost the semi-finals it would’ve been an experience I’ve never had.
“It’s a brilliant occasion, I would love the opportunity to try and win the competition. Hopefully, the players can go and deliver tomorrow and do whatever is necessary to get through.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln City winger Anthony Scully said the game against Sunderland is a “great opportunity” to reach Wembley and talked about his memories of the stadium.
“I can’t wait. It is a semi-final, and everyone knows it’s one game away from Wembley. It is a great opportunity for us all”, Scully said.
“I remember games as a kid, going to watch matches at Wembley, but we’ve got a job to do tomorrow night.”
“We’ve got to go and do a job on a side that will be thinking the exact same as us.”