Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough has tipped Lincoln City as an outside bet for glory in League One this season.
The son of legendary manager Brian Clough is in his second spell with the Brewers, guiding them to a top half finish this season after relegation from the Championship. On crowd of fewer than 7,000 he’s ensured they constantly punch above their weight with a mix of shrewd management and bargain buys.
He’s not tipping the Imps to have a real go at promotion, although he may be a little misguided in claiming we have ‘financial clout’.
“The one I wouldn’t rule out as well is Lincoln, in terms of going for it – they’ve got the financial clout and having seen what Luton have done, I think they will fancy their chances of doing that,” Clough told the Derby Telegraph.
He’s tipping Portsmouth, Rotherham, Ipswich, Doncaster and Peterborough to be challenging at the top of the table, that’s without the clout of Sunderland and the momentum of Tranmere Rovers to consider.
It’s interesting to hear managers pushing us for a challenge at the top, especially based on financial clout. Danny has been very vocal about us being exactly the opposite of that; we’re not the division’s paupers but we’re not going to be in the same bracket as Ipswich, Sunderland or even MK Dons for that matter.
I think Danny will be hoping we get to play the underdog, hence the pre-season talk of budgets. You know as well as I do that the manager will have a plan, we came out of the National League with a smaller budget than much of League Two, but we established and then kicked on.
Personally, I’d be very surprised if we are challenging the top six, but if we could settle into the middle of the pack, not just holding our own but showing desire to kick on, that would be a great season.
It’s nice that other managers recognise our progress, but fans must not get carried away with that and think we’re favourites, not by a long stretch. There is a huge difference between us and Luton Town in terms of resources and any comparisons are being made purely because we’ve earned promotion, just as they have.
Danny talked about managing expectation last season and I largely tried to ignore it as we knew we were favourites. That’s not the case next season and even a respected figure like Nigel Clough should not have you thinking otherwise.