Lincoln City have dwelt outside the Football League for the past five years, failing even to come close to mounting a charge to take their place back in League Two.
However, since the arrival of Danny Cowley at Sincil Bank the club’s fortunes have improved dramatically, with the Imps now on course to finish at least in the National League after an excellent first half of the season.
Cowley has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past two years, rising from Concord Rangers to take over at Braintree Town, where on one of the smallest budgets in the division he guided the club to the part-timers to the playoffs, only to be defeated by Grimsby. Due to his desire to attain a full-time position he accepted the Imps’ offer and has now begun to work his magic at Sincil Bank.
As a result of Lincoln’s strong start to the season they are backed in the latest 888Sport betting odds at 5/2 to win the National League and reclaim their position in League Two. The Imps are within striking distance of Tranmere Rovers at the top of the table and have produced a number of fine performances of late, including to knock League One outfit Oldham Athletic out of the FA Cup to reach the third round of the competition.
The Imps had an inconsistent start to the term, suffering early defeats home and away Sutton United and Dagenham & Redbridge respectively, which stymied the progress made from winning their other five contests in the opening month of the season. Cowley’s men recovered from their back-to-back losses, proving their title-winning credentials with an excellent performance to defeat Tranmere at Prenton Park.
However, they suffered back-to-back defeats once again at the end of September to halt their charge forward. Cowley and his team would use the disappointment to click their promotion surge into gear, starting with a 3-0 win over his old club Braintree. Since the beginning of October the Imps have enjoyed a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions, including their wins in the FA Cup.
Cowley has found the right blend at both ends of the pitch, although his side’s finishing ability has been at the spearhead of their push to reach the top. Matt Rhead has been in sensational form, continuing his exploits from last season when he finished with 23 goals. He already has 11 strikes to his name this term and should he continue to find the net with regularity then the Imps will have strong chance of ending their exile from the Football League.
Defensively Lincoln’s form has been extremely inconsistent. They’ve kept eight clean sheets in their 23 matches thus far, but they have also displayed the propensity to concede at the back, shipping two goals or more in six of their contests. Cowley must ensure that his side’s record improves over the second half of the campaign as a leady defence would put a lot of pressure on Rhead along with Nathan Arnold to keep producing at the other end of the pitch.
The Imps are in their strongest position yet to secure their place back in League Two since their relegation in 2011, and they appear to have the right man to lead them back there. As long as they can maintain their composure and continue to trend in the right direction then Sincil Bank will be hosting League Two action next term.