Christmas may well be dead to Danny Cowley but ahead of the Everton game his passion and excitement for ‘The best Cup competition in the World’ were clear to see; somewhat akin to that excited child on Christmas Eve we have all seen at some point in our lives. There was only really one topic of discussion.
Everton: DC loves the FA Cup and be in doubt that the club are looking forward to the match and will be putting great emphasis and energy into it, being nice to step out of the pressure of the league. Everton may have world class players but Imps have world-class characters so those that say lightning doesn’t strike twice (FA Cup success) don’t understand the mindset at Lincoln City. Whether the odds are 100/1 or 1000/1 against a positive result the Imps have to and will approach the game with belief and take confidence from the previous great run. DC has enjoyed being an underdog all his life and is happy to be so versus Everton. Games against top opposition are so valuable for providing instant feedback and fast track learning so far as assessing his own team – particularly when out of possession. The press commented that there were similarities between Everton and The Imps in that both were community clubs with stadiums surrounded by houses. DC couldn’t help a good-natured guffaw at the comparison and joked that was what they had in common – both clubs had a ground.
Opposition Line Up: Dc has no idea how strong the opposition line up will be so has assessed their whole squad. Seeing as Jagielka and Baines are their reserves he won’t be feeling too sorry for whatever side they put out.
Preparation: Some Imps players have covered 60km in the Christmas period games so today for most of them today was the second recovery day with limited training. Imps will travel up tomorrow and train en route. As usual, for opponents, six matches have been assessed and DC takes the view it is easier to quantify quality opponents as clear consistent patterns of play are evident. There is no mental fatigue and whilst the players may be physically fatigued off the back of a lot of games DC has told the players that if they were tired and a lion jumped out at them they would still run very fast. Everton are the lion.
Mindset: The players will have complete clarity of game plan with the tried and trusted formula of breaking the game down to six 15 minute compartments to be applied. In order to achieve a positive outcome, the Imps will need to be incredibly organised without the ball, press with intensity and purpose to retrieve the ball and if that doesn’t work then ensure the side remains compact and don’t make mistakes. Those are the things City can control and will be the focus rather than any Everton brilliance which ‘they’ cannot control.
Injuries: DC gave his stock answer that he was hopeful about Josh Vickers but also made the point of building up the competency of Sam Slocombe who has achieved four promotions during his experienced career.
Overview: This feels like the Ipswich game which is where it pretty much started to take off for The Imps. Emirates and Wembley are great grounds but ‘you’ cannot beat playing in a proper old-fashioned ground like Goodison Park. Imps may be outnumbered but they will be heard.
Miscellaneous: Whilst DC does not anticipate any new signings before Everton he tantalisingly stated that Wednesday had been a good day for recruitment. DC expressed his amazement that one of the L2 rivals had nearly pulled off a 750k transfer for Jayden Stockley and whilst he wished Jayden all the best he wasn’t sorry to see quality players from rival teams that he couldn’t sign, leave the division altogether.
Danny Cowley Press Conference
Posted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sport on Thursday, 3 January 2019
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) January 4, 2019