Ian Holloway believes that Lincoln City need to enjoy the moment that they are in and has revealed that he has been incredibly impressed with the Imps’ start to life in Sky Bet League One, writes Jake Tonge.
I was fortunate to catch up with Ian Holloway and Sam Saunders before the 3-1 defeat at Wycombe on Saturday, courtesy of Quest TV.
Unfortunately, the inevitable has happened since the recording of the interview. I’d like to place on record that I wish Danny and Nicky Cowley all the best in their new roles at Huddersfield Town and how proud of them we all should be that a former Premier League club were looking at our management team as good enough to get them back on track.
I digress. Although me and Ian spoke at large about the Cowley brothers and how they have built this club from the ground up, he was still extremely impressed at how the club have adapted to life in the third tier:
“It’s one of the best stories in football. You have a huge city behind the football club and you’re growing and the side are developing the way that they are playing. Who’s to say that anything can stop them? Who’s to say that the stir you’re causing might attract all sorts of investment.
“I’m delighted [with Lincoln’s start] because when you go up and then go up again sometimes you reach a plateau but it doesn’t seem that you have. Gareth Ainsworth is a good friend of mine and was talking earlier about how your outside left and inside left interchange these days and you probably wouldn’t expect that when you hit big Rheady.
“From my point of view, please enjoy it. Enjoy the bubble that you’re in because you never know when it might pop and you never know it might be the biggest bubble you’ll ever see.
“I’ve been so impressed because normally you have a spell when the lads are looking around wondering if they are good enough for this level as both an individual and as a team. It doesn’t seem to have affected you. You’ve lost a couple but that hasn’t knocked you, you’ve bounced back and they seem to be taking everything in their stride which is a fantastically good sign for you as a football club.
“I just sometimes sit at home marvelling and a bit jealous that Bristol Rovers are getting caught up and then left behind by Lincoln. All I can say is it’s a wonderful moment in time for you lot. You behave yourselves everywhere you go. You make your club proud, you make your city proud.”
Holloway was manager of Blackpool from the years 2009 to 2012 which included the club’s promotion to the Premier League. A key component of that squad was current Imps right-back Neal Eardley. Since arriving at the club on trial in 2017, the Welsh defender has looked right at home. His calmness on the ball and his ability to deliver from a dead or moving ball is second to none. Holloway was extremely proud of the progression that he has made in his career:
“I’m so proud of Neal Eardley. I keep watching him like I do all my old lads.
“He’s such a wholehearted player, a fantastic player. I bought him from Oldham years and years ago and he ended up playing right-back but he was equally as good in the number six role in midfield. His passing range is extraordinary and his crossing is outstanding.
“Injuries are part and parcel of it. He’s not prone to them, he’s had some and it takes huge character to do all that work on your own and with the help of the physio. It’s mentally tormenting but to see him back and playing in such a good side and having success, I must admit that I’m immensely proud of him.
Ian Holloway is a pundit on the official EFL highlights show EFL on Quest every Saturday at 9pm. Quest is the home of EFL highlights broadcasting every round of fixtures throughout the season. Also available on desktop and app via QuestOD