Lincoln City are in the process of becoming a real fairy tale story. Just three years ago they languished in the National League, beaten 5-3 in the FA Cup by Whitehawk.
Since then they’ve kicked on and surpassed all expectations the fans had. A National League win under Danny Cowley was eclipsed by an historic FA Cup run that saw them become the first non league side to reach the quarter final in 115 years.
The season after they made the League Two play-offs, as well as winning the Checkatrade Trophy in their first ever Wembley appearance. They were back on the FA Cup trail recently, losing narrowly at Goodison Park in the third round to a strong Everton side.
They’re currently top of League Two and if Cowley keeps them there, they’ll be playing third tier football for only the second time in almost 40 years.
One player catching the eye for the Imps is midfielder Ellis Chapman. He came on against Everton to chants of ‘he’s one of our own’, and he surely is. Chapman’s Dad Darren was a YTS player at Lincoln at the same time as Darren Huckerby and now his son is aiming to emulate the success of the former Newcastle striker.
Chapman turned 18 this week, but he’s been around Sincil Bank for a while now. He started out as a junior with the club, but was poached by Premier League Leicester when the Imps were down at heel. He returned shortly before the first league fixture at Sincil Bank in six years and hasn’t looked back.
He’s a languid central midfielder, industrious but making everything seem very easy. He’s got an eye for a cute pass, but as yet has been cautious in his first team action. He got his first start for the club at the beginning of the season, but a harsh red card against Cambridge United in the autumn slowed his progression.
He helped guide the Imps Under 18s to their first ever FA Youth Cup third round tie where they were beaten by West Brom and since then he’s come back into the first team fold. His appearance against Everton saw him bulkier than before Christmas, defying those who claimed before that he looked a little lightweight.
Danny Cowley joked with Marco Silva that he might want to give the Imps a couple of million pounds for Chapman, but if his progression and potential evolve at the same rate, that might prove to be a steel for the Premier League side.
Keep an eye on Chapman as he becomes an integral part of the Lincoln City set up over the coming months.