Gary Johnson has praised Lincoln’s progress under Danny and Nicky, labelling us a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, but praising our approach and the quality amongst our squad.
Speaking to Gloucestershire Live, Johnson said; “The Cowley brothers have done very well with Lincoln and it’s a chicken and egg situation, where you get a bit of a cup run, you get money in, you have the Checkatrade Trophy run and you get some money in, you can pay a little bit more for players who could have stayed, or gone into the first division, so they in in effect and I am sure they won’t mind me saying, paying League One wages.”
To be fair, he isn’t wrong. I would imagine Freck, Bozzie, Matt Green and James Wilson will all be on ‘League One’ wages or, as I like to call them, ‘good League Two’ wages. We haven’t over paid for our players, but the money we have spent has been allocated wisely and utilised to maximum effect.
Johnson didn’t purely apportion our success to spending power though, speaking of his respect for Danny and Nicky.
“They have done very well in every competition. They are as competitive in the dugout as they are on the pitch, but I respect the pair of them for what they’ve done, that’s for sure. They’ve had a fantastic few months, or couple of years even. We are going to have to be ready for the battle on Tuesday night.”
Despite being a long ball side themselves, Johnson was still quick to point out we like to go direct. However, unlike many of his peers, he refused to speak of our style in derogatory terms.
“They have some good footballers and you can’t win by just breaking up the opposition’s tactics. They have their own tactics, which work very well, but it’s because they are so busy and their work rate is there that it sometimes looks a bit scruffy, early on especially. But I don’t think we can disrespect them for that.”
He also paid tribute to our crowd. His keeper had done the same earlier in the day having been part of the Macclesfield squad last season, but Johnson also pointed to our superb crowds and hoped his side could use us to their advantage.
“I always say to the boys that the noisier it is the better we become and the more competitive we become. See it as if it’s your own supporters making that noise. Our away support is, if we are going well, making themselves heard. Credit to them for travelling all over the country so far and I am sure they’ll carry on doing that.”
Whilst Johnson may have been magnanimous ahead of the game, there will be plenty of needle and jockeying in the dug out area for tonight’s match. He’s an old hand and plays the game as well as anyone, but it is refreshing to hear a manager speak in favourable terms about what we’ve achieved.
Johnson is one of the managers who has clashed with Evans and Raynor this season and therefore, one of my preferred managers! After their clash earlier this season he condemned the behaviour of our favourite pantomime villains after being sent off for a shove: “Have you ever seen dugout shenanigans like that where Steve Evans, we know he does it, but his mate Paul Raynor copies everything Steve does. Both came into the technical area at a time when their lad had gone down. He claimed an elbow but the lad soon got up. I didn’t see any malice in it from Taylor. Paul Raynor came working towards me in the middle of my technical area. I gave him a little shove in the tummy. He went mad and the referee came over.”