Danny Cowley Exclusive: Togetherness is the key to Lincoln City topping League Two


Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has stated the defining reason as to why they are in such a great position. Believing that the relationship between the club and the fans has contributed massively to their success.

The Imps boss gave a three-minute speech explaining how hard they have worked to get where they are now. And how important it is that they remain as one, in order to progress further as a club.

Cowley on being top

The league leaders were held to a frustrating draw against bottom side Notts County last weekend as John Akinde missed a late penalty, allowing Mansfield to close the gap on the Imps to just two points.

However, Cowley has urged fans to have some perspective of where the club is now, compared to three years ago. And he believes that they will have to maintain their incredible hard work, if the improvements are to continue.

On the club’s position, he said:

“We’ve got a fantastic work ethic and togetherness, and we’ve got an unbelievable support. They’re the definers for me, that’s the reason why we’re top. We need to keep working hard, realise that being top is really tough, make sure we embrace the challenge.
“The success we’ve had as a football club in the last two and a half years, has been about everybody. How aligned we are, not just on the pitch, but also off it with the business side of the club. And as well as that, with our wonderful supporters.
“They know how important they are to us. We need our supporters, we need them with us. They have earned us a lot of points already this season. They’ve got to stick with us to earn us more.
“We feel this can be a really special moment in the club’s history, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be bumps in the road. But what we have to do is, together, ride the journey. Work really hard. Remember what the end goal is. And do all we can.
“So whatever happens come May, we’ll have no regrets.”

Cowley then emphasised how the City as a whole, needs to come together to drive the club forward in this crucial stage of the season.

Cowley on Northampton

This Saturday sees the Imps return to Sincil Bank, as they welcome Keith Curle’s Northampton Town. The Cobblers picked up an impressive midweek win at play-off chasers Tranmere, in what has otherwise been an underwhelming season.

Tuesday’s victory was just their second win in their last 11 games in all competitions. Although they have drawn five of those games, proving to be a tough side to beat on the whole.

And Cowley believes they will prove to be a big challenge, as Northampton aim to climb further clear of the relegation zone.

On Saturday’s opponents, he said:

“They’re very dangerous, when we played them on the opening day of the season, it was probably one of the best performances against us this year. They were certainly the dominant team on the day.”
“Then we played them again in the FA Cup, and it was an enthralling game. They were very resilient to come back into the game. We’re respectful of Northampton, Nicky and I went to watch them at Tranmere on Tuesday.”
“They were really determined and really resilient. Scored early, and were well deserving of their eventual 2-1 victory.”
“They bought some good players in the January transfer window. They’ve got lots of goals in them. And they’ve got a very good record against teams at the top end of the table, away from home. So we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be another really tough game.”

Northampton have scored in all of their last 10 away games, so the Imps will find it tough to keep that all important clean sheet.

Cowley on social media

Being top of the league brings a huge amount of expectation from fans. Often leading to criticism when the team slips up.

Which is exactly what happened last weekend, when Lincoln failed to beat bottom side Notts County. The team, and particularly Akinde, came under fire from fans on social media.

But Cowley has urged supporters to stick behind the team. Understanding that the growth of online platforms will lead to these heated discussions when the team doesn’t win.

He said:

“We got a lot of criticism at the weekend, which we anticipated. We know it’s only from a small minority. The way the media is now, people want controversy as it gets viewing figures.”
“You look at social media, and being popular now is not about being cool on the school playground. It’s on the number of views you have, or the number of retweets or likes you get. And in order to get that, you’ve got to be quite controversial or extreme in your view.”
“I don’t always think people actually mean what they’re saying sometimes, they just say it for effect. We understand that football divides opinion, but we want everyone to be together.”
“Let me just make this clear. If John (Akinde) has been as bad as some people say he has been, we would never be top of the league.”