Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley is certainly expecting a tough match this Saturday as they travel to struggling Crawley Town.

The Red Devils will be looking to recover from their humiliating 6-1 defeat to Crewe last weekend. They can also see that safety is almost secured, knowing that a win will all but secured their league status.

Cowley on Crawley

The Imps picked up another vital point on Monday, coming from behind to draw with promotion rivals Mansfield. It’s a point that keeps them 10 points clear of fourth with just eight games to go.

However, Cowley understands how difficult League Two is, and that no team should be considered as an easy win.

As Saturday’s opponents have taken four points from their home games against Bury and Mansfield. And will be hoping to make it three unbeaten against the top three.

On Crawley, Cowley said:

“I watched the game last week, I went to Crewe. And for 35 minutes they were definitely the better team and probably should’ve been 2-0 up. But football is a crazy game and they certainly had a crazy 12 minute period.”
“It certainly didn’t run with their start to the game, because they were excellent. They possessed the ball well, built their play well. Their boys in midfield can handle the ball well, they’ve got some real pace and athleticism higher up the pitch.”
“We’ll expect a wounded animal come Saturday. Their home record has been good, particularly against the top eight. So we genuinely anticipate it to be our toughest game of the season.”

On ex-Imp Ollie Palmer, he said:

“He’s a good player, he’s got some fantastic physical qualities, he’s a handful. He’s got athleticism and can stretch it, he can also keep the ball up the pitch. And always carries a goal threat.”
“We enjoy working with Ollie, he’s a fun guy, and we look forward to seeing him on Saturday.”

Cowley on player fitness

With us now at the business end of the season, players will be feeling the physical demands taking their toll; another gruelling campaign will cause more frequent injuries towards the latter stages, no doubt.

And Lincoln players are no different, as Cowley prepares for a physically tough end to the season. He understands how players must be looked after at this stage, in order to avoid consequences that disrupt the team.

On dealing with fitness, he said:

“It’s all part of the long term plan for us. That the boys that are over 30 that have slightly different pathways to the younger players. And those that play over 35 games, once they hit that mark, we know that there’s normally a higher risk of injury.”
“So we adapt training and their load. They still train, still with high intensity, just not with the same amount of volume.”
“That’s just the small sort of adaptations that we make to ensure that we keep the players fit, but also fresh.”
“There are many different ways to train, not always just on the grass. We do a lot of training in the video room, doing collective work, departmental work and individual work. So we just look to find the right balance for the right player for this stage of the season.”

Cowley will need his squad as a whole for the run in, as they contribute all together. This is shown by the fact that the Imps have had 20 different goalscorers this season. Never leaving it all down to one man.

Cowley on the transfer window

Important EFL news has surfaced this week, as League One and Two clubs are wanting transfer deadlines to be revised. Many are hoping for the summer window’s closure to be moved back to the end of August.

And Cowley has expressed his thoughts on the subject. With the Lincoln manager having had three successful summer windows so far.

He said:

“I’d just like clarity, either way, to be honest with you. For us, we were happy with it how it was, and happy with how it was this season. We just need to know so that we can put the necessary plans in place.”
“I suppose that if I had a preference it would be to close it before the start of the season. Because then we’ve got to work through the summer, which I always feel gives us an advantage.”
“It gives clubs the wiggle room if you bring it back later in August. Clubs that are selling clubs also have more of an opportunity to move players on.”
“Personally once the season starts, I just want to be able to work with that group. But ultimately we’ll adapt accordingly.”

Cowley made a total of seven signings in the January window, so Imps fans can expect another summer of change. As they will hopefully be building a squad that can challenge in League One.