Michael O’Connor has been one of the first players to openly discuss the recent situation at Sincil Bank, opening up about the departure of Danny Cowley.
O’Connor is one of the senior professionals at the club, a man who has seen managers leave clubs before; on three occasions before now. Whilst fans can mourn, bemoan their luck and worry, the players are paid to do a job and as he explained to me, that’s exactly what they’re going to do.
“We’re professional footballers,” he said as I spoke to him for this week’s match day programme.
“It’s tough to lose Danny and Nicky because of what they’ve done for the city and the club, but we’re the same group of lads, we know what to do; we’re paid money to win games of football.”
If the players know what they have to do, the former Rotherham man hopes the supporters will also carry on as normal.
“The supporters have, under the last two or three years, been the main reason we’ve got to where we are now. They’ve got to stick with us, it’s not the end of the world. Danny and Nicky have done great things for this club, but the supporters have had a big part to play in that too and they’re needed now as much as ever.
“We’ll need them this Saturday to get behind us and help us towards three points.”
Bristol Rovers are the visitors, a side with no goals away from home this season and three defeats. They’re coming up against one of only three 100% home records in the bottom two divisions, a remarkable stats given how many games we’ve had to play.
The fixture pileup hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players either.
“We were talking amongst ourselves and August is worse than December. Usually, Christmas time is worse, but the six weeks have been solid, Tuesday and Saturday. It’s tough, it’s been nice this week to have a full week to focus on the game on Saturday and put in some work at the training ground.”
The home form hasn’t been a worry and the Imps will certainly be hoping to make a statement this weekend as the Gas come to visit. It’s the form away from Sincil Bank which has been the issue but O’Connor explained that he felt performances have been good, apart from the game with Wycombe.
“Against MK Dons they had about two per cent of possession or something, Doncaster I thought we were the better team and conceded sloppy goals. At Wycombe, we just didn’t show up. We knew what to expect but we got bullied and just didn’t cope with it.”
Was the situation on the player’s minds? Did they know before the game something was amiss? What qualities will the lads be looking for in a new manager? Find out this, and more, in this weeks programme.