Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has said that he remains focused on his current team after speculation in regards to the recent vacancy at Griffin Park.

The now-former Brentford manager Dean Smith left the Bees earlier this week to take over at fellow championship side Aston Villa, leaving bookmakers scrambling for who might be Smith’s successor.

Cowley on being linked to other jobs

Despite how flattering it can be when you’re linked to a club a couple of leagues above, Cowley has kept his feet firmly on the ground.

Not wanting to be drawn into speculation about his future, Cowley focused on what he has at Lincoln at how the project is unfinished.

He said:

“I just think we’re completely focused on the job in hand and all of our time and energy is around Lincoln City and trying to keep improving the players.”
“We will continue to put all of our energy and focus into Saturday.”

It is easy to see why Danny and his assistant Nicky are in such high demand from other clubs, considering their record at the Imps.

Since joining from Braintree Town in May 2016, the Cowleys have had 135 games at the helm, winning 77, drawing 31 and losing just 27, giving them an impressive win percentage of 57%.

In that the time, Lincoln have been promoted as champions, reached the FA Cup quarter-finals, won a trophy at Wembley and reached a play-off semi-final.

Cowley on Scunthorpe win

Cowley’s Lincoln side travelled to local rivals Scunthorpe in midweek for a Checkatrade Trophy tie, and despite falling behind, they came back into the game to ultimately win on penalties.

And Danny has spoken about how the game showed off the strength of his side, and their ability to get back into the game despite the league gap between the two Lincolnshire clubs.

On the Scunthorpe game, Cowley said:

“We went down with a different group of players, made ten changes and went a goal down, but we still had the mental toughness to go again and find that important equaliser.”
“To go to Scunthorpe and make ten changes, playing against a League One team that maybe only made five and play as well as we did was a real positive.”
“Particularly going forward, I thought our possession and some of the chances we created were really positive, though maybe we could’ve been a little bit more compact defensively as the game got a little bit open for my liking.”

However, despite Cowley’s defensive complaints, the Imps have the joint best defence in the league this season and haven’t conceded more than one goal in a single league game this season.

When comparing that to last season after 12 games, Lincoln had conceded more than once on two separate occasions. In terms of goals conceded last term, Lincoln had let in 13 goals in comparison to just 8 at the same stage this season.

Having a good defence most notably affects the goal difference, as last season the Imps were on just +2 goal difference at this stage compared to the far more impressive +13 now.

Cowley on Port Vale

Lincoln travel to Vale Park on Saturday to face a Port Vale side who have lost their last two league games, most recently falling to defeat against the Imps local rivals Grimsby.

Vale have experienced an indifferent beginning to the season, winning 4, drawing 2 and losing 6, which sees them currently occupy 16th place.

However, it is still an improvement in comparison to this time last season, where they had won just 1, drawn 2 and lost 9, seeing them sat in the relegation zone.

Lincoln will, therefore, be wary of this improved Vale side, especially because the home side will be looking for revenge from when the sides met in August, as Lincoln ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in the EFL cup first round.

On Saturday’s opponents, Cowley said:

“We did well when we went there in the Carabao Cup, but probably that win makes this game even tougher, that’s normally what happens.”
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Port Vale, they’re a good team. They’ve got a lot of different attacking options and some big, physically strong defenders, so we’ll have to make sure we’re our fittest and freshest come Saturday.”
“They’ve done very well when they have scored the first goal, so we know, as with all football, the first goal is really important.”
“But I think we’ve shown time and time again that if we do concede first, that we’ve got enough resolve and enough resilience to get back into the game.”