Danny Cowley Lincoln City EFL League Two Exclusive

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley believes the club owes it to supporters to create the perfect day at Sincil Bank.

The Imps know that a win over Cheltenham Town will promote them to the third tier for the first time this century. They can also clinch the title on Saturday but would need all of their promotion rivals to slip up.

Cowley on imminent promotion

Last weekend saw the league leaders claim a vital win over then second-placed MK Dons. The victory in front of a record away following, means they also equalled their record for most away wins in a league season.

Their 12th success on the road takes them to within one step of promotion and Cowley insists that it will eclipse any other achievement they’ve made so far, reaching a level that he could only have dreamed of when he began his managerial career.

He said:

“We need to win. Simple equation. But it’s a tough challenge. There is pressure because it’ll be about trying to achieve the first objective of getting promoted. And if we can do that, then we’ll set the next objective from there.”
“We would like to do it in front of our supporters. They’ve been unbelievable from day dot. The success we’ve had has never been about 11 people. It’s been about a county, a city, a club effort.”
“And we would love to be able to give them something back. Because they’ve given us so much. So we feel a real responsibility to be able to do that.”

On what promotion would mean to the club, Cowley said:

“I think we’ve lived the experience of Macclesfield in the 16/17 season. And the feeling that we had after, is one that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Anyone associated with Lincoln City that was there on that day will remember that game.”
“And we had a great feeling after MK Dons on Saturday. We just said to the players, you would’ve felt in on Saturday, how good it is. Well times it by about 100, because that’s how good it will feel if we manage to beat Cheltenham on Saturday.”

Cowley on Cheltenham

The task of promotion seems straightforward for the Imps, but it certainly won’t be a walk in the park as the visitors to Sincil Bank on Saturday arrive in good form.

The Robins have won three, drawn two and lost one of their last six games. This is the form that has seen them secure League Two safety for another season.

Cowley expects a difficult test for his side, knowing that a win is far from guaranteed.

He said:

“Cheltenham are a very good team. Michael Duff has gone in and done a fantastic job since he’s been there. I think they’re second in the form guide, just behind us.”
“There’s no coincidence by their results either. We had a good look at them, and they’re really well organised without the ball. They’ve got a really good structure about them, they’re compact without the ball.”
“And they’re very good from set pieces. I think they’ve scored about 45% of their goals from them, so they carry a real threat there. And it will be a really tough game for us.”
“There’s a massive prize at the end of it. Off the back of last week’s success. We’ve spent the week refocusing and trying to put ourselves in the best possible position to play well on Saturday.”

Lincoln will believe that they have a good chance of finding the net against Cheltenham, with the visitors failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their last seven matches.

The Imps have also managed to score in 30 consecutive games in all competitions and will be hoping to make it 31 to seal that long-awaited promotion.

Cowley on injuries

Danny Cowley will be hoping to have a full-strength squad at his disposal for Saturday, as he was without attacking midfielder Danny Rowe for the trip to Milton Keynes.

On top of that, their tricky winger Bruno Andrade struggled his way through the game. Cowley insists that both are in contention to play, hoping that they will be able to have an impact.

On Rowe, he said:

“He’s very good. He had a scan on Monday, which cleared the knee. He was able to train today, which is a huge bonus for us. So he’s in contention for Saturday.”

On Andrade’s fitness, Cowley said:

“He’s had two injections. He had the early part of the week off the grass, but he’s back on it now. He’s buoyed by the last minute goal he scored.”
“And I’m proud of him, because a lot of lesser characters wouldn’t have taken the injection on Saturday. And the fact that he had one in the warm-up and one at half time. And he hates needles, by the way, a complete wuss.”
“The fact that he did that, willing to put his body before the team, epitomises what we’re about.”