Danny Cowley was in an upbeat mood ahead of the Imps first game back at Sincil Bank as a Football League club.
The visitors on Saturday are Morecambe, as if anyone needed reminding, and it will be the first outing as an EFL side since that awful day back in May 2011. The last competitive football of any description for the Imps came almost three months ago against Macclesfield, and Danny is looking forward to having that atmosphere again.
“It’s going to be great to see Sincil Bank full on Saturday, we’ve certainly missed that. The hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when I think back to the Macclesfield gave and that atmosphere, and no doubt there will certainly be a carnival atmosphere Saturday. It’s a great day for the club, first game back in the Football League. It’s a special day and one we’ve worked really hard to achieve.”
Despite the celebrations, Morecambe will be coming to play the role of party-pooper, and Danny is sure that despite their pre-season billing as relegation favourites, they’ll be a tough prospect.
“It’ll be a really tough game for us Saturday, it’s the first of many tough games. We’ve got a real run of them now haven’t we? That’s great, it’s what we signed up for. The tough games bring the best out in us as well, and that’s a good thing.”
Morecambe almost sprung a surprise against Championship side Barnsley this week, fighting back from 3-1 down to 3-3 only to concede a late goal. Veteran midfielder Kevin Ellison is still there, as is ex-Imp Vadaine Oliver, and Danny was under no illusions as to the size of the task in hand.
“If Morecambe had been in the National League last year they would have been fighting with us and Tranmere for promotion. They’ve got some really experienced players through the middle of the pitch.”
Danny paid tribute to Morecambe after a turbulent season in which players weren’t paid and the club’s ownership was brought into question.
“They had to fight against the odds last year. They had a lot of difficult times off the pitch, but I thought on the pitch their players and their manager Jim Bentley were a credit not only their club, but to football in they way they conducted themselves and in the performances they put in. If you look at what they did in comparison to Leyton Orient who were in a similar situation, and the way the different group of players conducted themselves that says a lot about them as a club.”
Danny revealed that both Luke Waterfall and Josh Ginnelly are likely to be involved in some way on Saturday, but Sam Habergham won’t be. He’s back up to ‘85% of his top speed’ and is apparently growing a Rocky 4 beard that he’s resolved not to shave until he’s fit.
In the interim period former Premier League player Neal Eardley fills in at left back, and Sean Long revealed that he is loving having a former top-flight player to learn from.
“He’s got loads of experience, I’m learning a lot off Neal at the minute. Neal has played games in the Premier League, anyone who has played there I’m going to want to learn from a pick up anything he does. We’re always talking about the game and our position.”
Eardley has looked impressive in his first two games, but Long has looked equally as impressive. He got forward really well in the second half against Rotherham, and although he enjoys pushing on he has had a word of caution.
“I love getting forward and I love putting in crosses but the manager reminds me I’m a defender and I have to defend first. He makes that clear to me a lot! Any chance I get I’ll get forward, I love linking up with other players. At the end of the day I have to stop goals first.”
City will be hoping to add three points to the two decent performances they’ve turned in this season, and what better place to do that than in front of a packed Sincil Bank?