Danny Cowley was in very calm and relaxed mode as he spoke to the press ahead of the return leg at Exeter City. Contrast to the first leg where he was very ebullient, this time around he held an air of quiet confidence and authority.
First Game: Reflecting on the no score draw DC referenced how tight it had been with Exeter having the better of first-half proceedings, Imps likewise after halftime. DC noted that City had more intensity and purpose second half with significantly better technical output; pass retention had increased from 81% to nigh on 95%.
Preparations: City travel tomorrow (now today) and will have time ahead of the game on Thursday. The squad will be well occupied at the hotel and there will be no distractions. The model has been used previously; think Arsenal last season.
Second Game: It is easier to prepare for the second game having done the hard work ahead of the first encounter. Tweaks will focus on how Exeter will play differently at home. DC expects them to try and control possession to build rhythm but is prepared for them to go directly to Stockley or should they play two up front. The side is physically and mentally prepared for extra time and penalties if necessary.
Squad Fitness: DC is hoping for a cleaner bill of health for the game which would put City not only in a better physical shape but have a more balanced side. Eardley and Bostwick had been no better than 80% fit on Saturday but should be in a better place come kick off. Habergham and Frecklington had reportedly both trained and he was awaiting reaction to that. Scott Wharton had picked up an ankle knock which was being monitored.
Fans: DC was mindful of the limitation on numbers and urged those that were going to make up for the thousands that couldn’t be there. He wouldn’t be afraid to cheerlead as ‘we’ all want the same thing and he was looking forward to viewing some good YouTube footage from the fans left at home.
Miscellaneous: The club have made huge strides on and off the pitch with outstanding progress to show. DC is particularly proud of the hard work from the players and there is a huge difference to where City are at compared to the away fixture in Devon last August. While it has not been possible to put long-term strategies into practice through the sheer volume of games played DC had no doubts about the future. Although the club are not League 1 ready as of today he opined that ‘we always find a way’ and should City end up in League 1 then absolutely they would be ready come August.
Danny Cowley prematch Press Conference
Posted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sport on Tuesday, 15 May 2018
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) May 16, 2018