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Non-League’s Three Lions will come first as Lincoln City offer Cup fixture swap

Pic: Andy Nunn

DANNY COWLEY says Lincoln City are happy to bring any potential FA Cup first round replay with Altrincham forward a week to make sure their England C stars don’t miss out.

Boss Paul Fairclough has named Alex Woodyard, Sam Habergham, Sean Raggett and the Imps’ midweek signing Elliott Whitehouse in his 16-man squad for Estonia.

Non-League’s Three Lions travel to Tallinn for the International Challenge Trophy match on Tuesday, November 15, knowing a win will guarantee their place in the final.

Honour

But with first round proper replays scheduled for the same week, Fairclough faces a tense wait to see the outcome of the ties affecting 11 of his selections.

While it may become immaterial, Cowley is adamant the Imps’ quartet will be available for the trip and has agreed that a replay will be played during the proceeding blank midweek.

“We’re really keen to help and support Paul Fairclough and the England C team,” Cowley told The NLP. “I think it’s a team we should be really proud of.

“It’s great for the players individually and for their development because they get to play international football against different countries with different styles. So it’s definitely good for the football education and good for their profile as players. We’re really for it and think our players come back better for the experience.

“We’ll play the replay the Tuesday before, it’s no real issue for us, and it’s just having a contingency in place if that was to happen.

“We wouldn’t want there to be a conflict of interest and we wouldn’t want the players missing out on what will be a great experience and another England C cap.”

Fairclough has picked eight new faces in the squad that will meet up at the end of the month for a three-day training camp.

Dagenham & Redbridge pair Oli Hawkins and Matt Robinson are joined by Boreham Wood’s Grant Smith and Morgan Ferrier, Eastleigh’s hot property Luke Coulson, Forest Green defender Ethan Pinnock and Aldershot’s Nick Arnold. There is also a first call-up for Barrow keeper Joel Dixon.

Fairclough said: “This is what England C is all about. We’re going to be prepared on several fronts for this game – there are real options with this squad, probably more than we’ve had for a while.”

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