Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has stressed how hard they have had to work to be in their current position. Highlighting that they have consistently found a way to break teams down.

The league leaders put in another strong performance in midweek, winning 2-0 against 10-man Oldham to boost their promotion chances.

Cowley on Oldham win

The Imps’ 21st league victory of the season saw them extend their lead at the top to 5 points. But more importantly, they now have a 10 point advantage over 4th placed MK Dons.

And although Cowley is keeping his feet firmly on the ground, he was encouraged by his sides display. Knowing that their opponents will never make it easy, he believes Lincoln’s ability to find ways around that is the key.

On Tuesday’s triumph, Cowley said:

“We were pleased with our performance, I think after 15 minutes. We didn’t start as well as we would’ve liked, didn’t get the start that we like to get at home. Didn’t get the control that we like.”
“But from there on inwards I thought we were good. And yeah, it was a very positive performance.”

On dealing with teams, he said:

“I think when you’re top of the league, and you’ve been top for as long as we have. I don’t think it’s ever easy to win games of football. I think teams come and set up differently at Sincil Bank to how they normally do.”
“You’ve always got to be good enough to break that down. Teams have made it difficult for us, and we’ve had to really work hard to accumulate the points that we have.”
“We’ve managed to get to this stage of the season only losing once at Sincil Bank. And losing one game since October, which is something that we’re really proud of.”

Lincoln’s home form under the Cowleys is something to behold. As in 82 home league games, they have won 52, drawn 23 and lost just 7.

Cowley on Mansfield

For the second time this year, an Imps game is being televised. As they travel to face Mansfield Town on Monday night in what will be a vital promotion clash.

A win will take Lincoln 13 points clear of the play-offs with just 24 points left to play for. So Cowley understands how important this game could be if they are to be a League One side next season.

On Monday’s opponents, he said:

“The two clubs obviously because of the locality, there’s a natural rivalry. Which I think can be positive for both clubs as it drives standards. And in the last two seasons, we’ve been very closely positioned in the league.”
“We’re respectful that going to Mansfield is very tough. They’ve had a fantastic record at home. They’ve got some top top players, and as a consequence, they’ve been very successful this season.”
“We look at their playing personnel, and it’s as good as it is, if not the best in the league. So we’re under no illusions how tough Monday night will be. But we’re in a good moment ourselves, and everyone is fighting for the cause.”
“We’re hoping that it’s going to be a good game for everybody to watch.”

Mansfield have suffered somewhat of a blip of late, picking up just 1 point from their last 2 games. However they have won their last 5 home games, so Lincoln will be expecting a difficult test.

Cowley on squad players

An issue that Cowley faces due to the club’s success is squad rotation. Because as the saying goes, ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. So, therefore, the manager has been using the same starting eleven for a while now, barring injuries and the occasional tactical change.

This means certain players are not getting a look in, having to watch from the sidelines at the team’s success.

And this can be especially frustrating for those brought in in January. As they had come to Lincoln in search of some much-needed game time, only to be denied it.

On this issue, Cowley said:

“I think everybody wants to play, and certainly we sign players that love football. And that’s one of the first things we look for in recruitment.”
“But with that, when they’re not playing, and when you’re the one starving them from doing what they love, there can be a natural frustration.”
“Ultimately we sign good people and good characters, and ultimately they see the bigger picture. We probably spend more time with 12 to 20 on a Monday to Friday than we do 1 to 11. Because we know that it’s important that we influence those boys and keep them focused.”
“They’ve had to be really patient, but we know that there’s still a lot of football to be played.”