Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has insisted that they will continue to give 100 percent in their final two games.
Many would forgive the Imps for taking their foot off the gas, now that they have their League Two crown. But Cowley wants to keep up the intensity to finish the season strong.
Cowley on Newport
Despite wrapping up the title on Easter Monday against Tranmere, the focus has been turned to a difficult away day.
Lincoln are on the road for the final time this season, as they visit play-off chasing Newport County. A side who have conceded just twice in their last seven games, and two in their last ten at home.
And Cowley knows how tough a test it will be, against opponents that have something major to fight for.
“We know we’ve got a really tough game. They’ve had a fantastic season. Michael Flynn for me has been the manager of the year. I think he’s been tremendous.”
“You look at what he’s done over the past two and a half seasons. Two fantastic cup runs. He’s got a real competitive squad, they’re down to earth, honest, hard-working boys that are really fighting for the cause.”
“They’ve only conceded two goals at home in this calendar year. I think five clean sheets in their last seven. So there’s an awful lot to admire. I think it’s probably the toughest place in English football to go as a dead rubber.”
On motivation, Cowley said:
“We’ve got to find a cause, that is for sure. I think for us, the cause is that our away form has been the definer. I think that comes from a really strong mentality, and a determination and grit.”
“This is going to be the biggest challenge of all on Saturday.”
Lincoln have failed to score in their last two games. And they will be looking to avoid a third straight league blank for the first time since February 2015.
800 sold ✅
Any remaining tickets will be available on the day.
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) April 25, 2019
Cowley on contracts
The closing stages of the season are not just about finishing strong but also planning for next season. And in order to do that, a manager needs to look at any expiring contracts.
The Imps are no different, with six players coming to the end of their contracts this summer. However, Cowley has had a productive week, with three of them penning new one-year deals for next season.
Goalkeeper Josh Vickers, centre-back Jason Shackell and striker Matt Rhead have all committed for another year. And Danny has expressed his delight at securing the services of the trio.
On Rhead, he said:
“He’s been here since the beginning. Three seasons. Been brilliant, and played a massive part as a fantastic team member this year. He probably hasn’t played as much as he would like, but he’s such a good role model for the younger players.”
“We all know that he offers something unique. So I’m delighted to extend that.”
On Shackell, Cowley said:
“In January there was an option for him to go out to America. But we managed to convince him to stay in sunny Lincoln instead. He’s been first class. He’s quality in possession, he’s organised without the ball.”
“He just sets the standards. He’s a winner, who wants to win everything that he does. He’s as good as we’ve ever had, that is for sure.”
Cowley also underlined the importance of keeping Josh Vickers, who he believes to be a ‘Championship goalie’. Hoping that his main injury troubles are now firmly behind him.
What. A. Day! ?
3️⃣ new contracts.
4️⃣ Imps in the @PFA League Two Team of the Year.
Use an emoji to round up today's Imps headlines!?#ImpsAsOne pic.twitter.com/ld3lvhJ7gv
— Lincoln City FC (@LincolnCity_FC) April 24, 2019
Cowley on loan players
The loan market has been utilised a lot by Lincoln this season with three players, in particular, having successful spells. Shay McCartan, Danny Rowe and Mark O’Hara have all played big roles this season, but will soon return to their parent clubs.
And Cowley is hopeful that all three can be Imps players when they begin life in League One. However, he understands that the club must work within their budget when making additions.
“It’s always ongoing dialogue. And there’s no doubt we would love to sign Shay, and Rowey and Mark O’Hara. I think they’ve done fantastically well, and we would love to able able to sign them.”
“But we’re respectful of the fact that their parent clubs have been good enough to loan them to us. We have to be aware of what their wishes are.”
“I think there’s a good possibility that we could sign all three of them. Whether we can afford to financially is something different.”
“If we could find the money financially, then we would love to. But without investment, I think we’d find it difficult to sign them all.”
I cannae see https://t.co/3syCXcXyVg
— Shay mccartan (@shaymccartan) April 22, 2019