Danny Cowley struck a balance between reflection on the season and looking forward to life in League One ahead of the game against October’s champions elect, Colchester United.
Recent results: DC conceded that whilst the player’s application and attitude has been first class there may be something in the suggestion that perhaps having achieved promotion and being Champions does take that little something away from the performance. Having gone 28 consecutive goal-scoring games it was irksome City had not scored in the last three; especially bearing in mind the number of chances created against Tranmere and Newport. Aiming to put that right had been a feature of training this week.
Colchester: They really enjoyed beating us in October! DC kept the pain close and ‘we’ got better not bitter. He thanked Colchester for providing the platform to go on a run that saw only one defeat in 175 days. As a club, Colchester have an excellent model which is academy based and features promotion from within. They have a good team with investment heavily on six-figure transfer fees for some players adding to their homegrown quality. DC indicated the Jason Shackell/fourth official incident has not yet been resolved so provided no clue as regards his availability for the match.
Lincoln Youngsters: Both Ellis Chapman and Adebayo-Smith have returned to City and are in the squad for Saturday. Chapman is believed to have made the highest number of professional appearances for an ‘U’ 18 in English football this season with 25 games under his belt. He has a real chance of making it, going onto become a really good player. He has a frightening amount of ability – great left foot, is still growing physically. He has flourished, benefitting from maturity allied to his understanding of the game. Ellis’ pathway will continue to be handled carefully.
Adebayo Smith to put into context couldn’t even get into his school team when he was 14 years old. DC spoke of AS’s physical strengths ‘My goodness can he move….he can jump into next week….he moves better than anyone (in our group)’. Encouragingly whilst still raw AS has technically improved beyond recognition so DC finds it very exciting working with a youngster who until coming to Lincoln had received very little coaching in his life.
This Season: DC never compares successful seasons as to do so could result in one taking away from another and that would disrespect what different groups achieved. What he would say about this year is that it has been brilliant to be part of what has been his most straightforward – it has gone to plan. DC took time to praise the players and staff for that. Credit to the players who made such sacrifices under 9 months of intense constant scrutiny. Having to peak every 3 to 4 days over that period is not easy. DC has so much admiration for them in what is a transient business – ‘If you do well you get sold, if you do poorly you get released’. Players have to pack up their families and move on a whim. Against such a backdrop the players have demonstrated the selfless ability to put the team before themselves with a mention to the loan players who have come in and felt like our players.
The staff have been the team behind the team and go under the radar. DC is not easy to work for as he is very demanding and relentless – Nicky is worse especially in the morning. None of the staff moan or whinge and have been fantastic right across all the departments. They ensure that everyone is simply a cog in the wheel (no-one more important than the other) to maintain everything is done to the benefit of the players.
DC is really looking forward to celebrating with everyone that has made the season a success, on this year’s open top bus parade. The 2017 parade had been a bit of a blur with everything happening so quickly and he is hoping to suck it all in a bit more and really remember this one.
Next Season: DC is not here to consolidate – he really dislikes that word as it signifies treading water – he does not have time for consolidation. Imps will be looking to establish themselves in L1; the aim is to find the way to The Championship however long that takes. The budget will allow Imps to be competitive so DC will be setting off with more than survival in mind. He has often worked with budgets at clubs (like Braintree/Concord) with smaller than average budgets and has always found a way to add value. DC is realistic though and it is vital that there is further investment as the club is moving so quickly and has to keep up with the financial stressors that brings. The board and Clive Nates are brilliant; they are so inclusive towards DC, fully understanding how he works and allows him to be involved in the process. The only time that lack of alignment is a problem is when ambition outweighs finance and on that score, Clive and the board have done so well regarding financial clarity.
The board continue to work incredibly hard to bring in the right investors to the club – ‘we’ don’t want the wrong people with money as has been seen at some other (unnamed) clubs. DC is adamant that Lincoln remains the most investable club in lower league English football and there must be an intelligent businessman out there who sees the people and harmony at the club, who wants to be a part of that. Until the investment arrives DC will not be standing still and he can influence success through football fortune on the pitch (good cup runs) and value via successful player trading. What DC will never ever do is put the future of Imps at financial risk. It is not easy as almost all clubs are happy to make a loss in this crazy ‘business’ so to find a unique but sustainable business model is the aim and has to be found.
Posted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sport on Thursday, 2 May 2019
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) May 3, 2019