Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has insisted that he does not intend to spend a season standing still. Rather he hopes that after two promotions in three seasons, his side can work towards another successful year.

The Imps will be playing in the third tier of English football for the first time in 20 years. And Cowley hopes that they will be able to establish themselves, and not just make up the numbers.

Cowley on next season

Lincoln fans that are old enough, will remember the last time they were promoted to this level in 1998.

The Imps managed to come in third, being promoted by just a point. They then came straight back down the next season, finishing second bottom on just 46 points.

And Cowley will be hoping his team can avoid an immediate return this time around. Aiming to build a stronger future for the club, rather than a brief period of joy.

He said:

“For us as a football club, we’ve come an awful long way in a short space of time. I don’t like the word consolidate, I’ve got a real issue with that. Because that to me is treading water, and I haven’t got time to tread water.”
“So for me, it’s about trying to establish. And it’s about trying to put a plan together to then allow us to get to the Championship. Because that is the next division.”
“My ambition and my aim for this football club is not just to create a moment in time. Which everybody can look back on and say ‘weren’t they fantastic years in the history of Lincoln City.’ I want this to be a period where we change the status of the club forever.”

On financing that plan, Cowley said:

“Now, will that happen in one year, three years, five years. There has to be a plan in place for that to happen. We know that for that to happen, we would need significant investment.”
“We’ve got a brilliant board, who are incredibly hard working. Who are working tirelessly behind the scenes to try to find that investment.”

Cowley on Colchester

Before planning for next season, Cowley must first focus on their final game of this campaign. Lincoln welcome play-off chasing Colchester United to Sincil Bank, for what will no doubt be a party-like atmosphere.

The Us go into their final game needing to win to have any chance of making the top seven. However, their away form is cause for concern. Having won one, drawn two and lost three of their last six on their travels.

Despite this, Cowley expects a difficult test against a side that have something to fight for. Knowing that they won’t sit back and defend as many teams have at Sincil Bank this season.

On Saturday’s opponents, he said:

“I think Colchester are a good club, they’ve got a good model. They invest heavily in their academy. They are able to produce players, year after year. They’ve got some fantastic young players at their football club.”
“It’s a model that I admire, I try to recruit from within. They’ve invested heavily this year as well, on some senior players. So they’ve got a really good squad, and they certainly enjoyed beating us in October.”

On learning from the reverse fixture, Cowley said:

“They enjoyed the celebrations, and we felt the pain. And we kept the pain close. We didn’t get bitter, we tried to get better. And for us, of the back of that, I think we’ve got a lot to thank Colchester for.”
“Because I think it did refocus us, as we then went 175 days where we only lost one game. We knew that if we kept our focus, and stuck to our ethos, then we would have our time during the season. And so it’s proved.”

Cowley on Chapman

As Lincoln looks to the future, they must also look at young players who could be a big part of that future. And one in particular that has impressed in his breakout season is 18-year-old midfielder Ellis Chapman.

The youngster made a total of 10 appearances in the first half of the season at Lincoln. Before he then made a further 15 on loan at Chesterfield.

And Cowley believes that he has an exciting future in the game ahead of him. Believing that he will have an important role to play for the club in League One.

He said:

“We were trying to work this out. We believe, he’s played the most senior games of any under 18 in the country. He’s played 25, and for a player who was only 18 in January, that is a remarkable achievement.”
“The kid is going to be a really good player. He’s got a frightening amount of ability, and we’ve just got to make sure that he finds the right pathway.”
“He’s trained with us since he started his scholar, and our training is pretty demanding, and he’s flourished. Ellis has got a really mature head on his shoulders, so he’s got a really good chance.”