Imps’ manager Danny Cowley has been praising the recruitment in January and the motivation of his fringe players as we enter the final straight in the League Two title race.
City are five points clear of Bury at the top of the table, with a ten point gap to third place. With a free Saturday to watch other results come in, the pressure is off tomorrow.
Ahead of Monday’s huge clash with Mansfield, Danny Cowley has been speaking to press about his recruitment in January, something that has been crucial in the recent run. Danny Rowe has come in and scored four goals in seven starts, with Mark O’Hara and Cian Bolger also playing key roles.
Danny revealed he was delighted with the business conducted in the transfer window.
“I think we’ve been really pleased with the recruitment we’ve done this year, credit to all the staff and the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in that process and that area.
“You want a squad of 20, 22 players and we’ve managed to have that. We have more depth than we had last year, definitely. We’ve had more competition for places. What people don’t realise is that players can have a real impact without actually playing 90 minutes on a Saturday or on a Tuesday.
“The competition that we have in a number of different areas drives the players on that are playing. Look at John Akinde’s performances and consider that he has Matt Rhead, Lee Angol, Jordan Roberts, Shay McCartan and Danny Rowe all vying for those positions it can really drive the standards.”
Two notable absence shave been Jordan Roberts and Lee Angol, both with little more than a cameo or two to their names since moving from Ipswich and Shrewsbury respectively. Whilst they might not be having an impact on the pitch, Danny hailed their input off it.
“When we planned the recruitment in January, we knew the position we were going to be in at this stage of the season and what we wanted to do was make sure we cover all eventualities. We’ve certainly done a good job of covering all of the outcomes in a 46 games season.
“I think everyone wants to play and we sign players that love football. When we look at recruitment one of the first things we look for is the love of the game. We know if they love the game, they’re going to have an enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
“But with that, when they’re not playing and you’re the one starving them from doing what they love there can be a natural frustration. Ultimately, we sign good people and good characters and I think they see the bigger picture. We work really hard with 12 to 20, we probably spend more time with 12 to 20 than we do one to 11 because we know it’s really important that we influence those boys and keep them focused and motivated.”
Danny concluded by admitting he was as proud of the players on the fringe of the squad as he was those in the side.
“I’ve been really proud of the boys who have been on the periphery. When you’re top you tend to have less personnel changes than when your mid table or near the bottom. They’ve had to be really patient and had to stay really focused and motivated as we know there’s still a lot of football to be played and we could need them any moment.”
All eyes will be on Ryan Lowe’s Bury tomorrow as they host relegation-threatened Cambridge at Gigg Lane. MK Dons, ten points below the Imps, host Stevenage. Fifth-placed Tranmere might be 14 points behind the Imps, but they’re hot on the heels of both MK and Mansfield and host managerless Oldham at Prenton Park.
I’d really appreciate your support in the upcoming Football Blogging Awards once more please. To vote, use the widget below and, if you’re a Twitter user, please copy and paste the following text into a tweet. PLEASE NOTE: Retweets do NOT count.
I am voting for @staceywestblog in @TheFBAs for #BestClubCreator
If you’re feeling especially benevolent, you can go to the official FBA Website and vote for me by typing Stacey West Blog in the Best Club Creator field, as well as Stacey West Podcast in the Best Podcast field.