Danny Cowley has been speaking to BBC Radio Lincolnshire about his plans for next season and the speculation regarding his future.
It has been an incredible rise for the Imps under Cowley and his brother Nicky. Since arriving at Sincil Bank in 2016, the Imps have won the National League, EFL Trophy and League Two title, not to mention a historic run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. And with three trophies in three seasons, it is no surprise that owners of bigger clubs are showing an interest in the talented management duo.
When asked about recent speculation linking him with the vacant West Bromwich Albion job, Cowley seemed to be leaving the door slightly ajar; he said: ‘This happens when the club you have managed has been successful.’
‘We should all take a compliment in the fact there is interest, ultimately for us, the focus is always on the work, the rest of it takes care of itself.’
‘For us, we’re just really determined to try to put this club in the best possible position to attack League One.’
‘We’re ambitious, and while there is ambition in this journey and while there is alignment in terms of those ambitions, then…then… we’ve loved our time here and really enjoyed our time here.’
Cowley did admit that without selling some of the prize assets in his squad or the club attracting fresh investment, next season could be a difficult one for the Imps, describing it as a ‘huge challenge.’
‘We are not going to have a budget that allows us to be a favourite for promotion to the Championship no time soon, that’s the reality,’ he added.
While Lincoln’s rapid rise has created problems most clubs would love to have, Cowley identified the need for a plan to take the club into the Championship and alignment between the boards and the management teams’ ambition as crucial for the clubs progression stating ‘ as a football club we have just got to work it out.’
When asked if there was currently that alignment, Cowley seemed ambiguous stating; ‘There have to be some really tough decisions financially.’
‘I would never want to put this club in danger financially.’
‘Everybody has to understand this next step is a really big step, and we are going into it, first and foremost, where we stand today, we have to survive first.’
Cowley is ambitious and by his own admission hates the word consolidate, and if Lincoln cannot find the budget needed for a League One challenge, then I think his days could be numbered at Sincil Bank.
There is no doubt he has forged a powerful link with the City and its football supporters, but football is a ruthless business with no room for sentiment.
Whether West Brom is the right club for him is another question, he obviously backs himself but whether he would survive under an owner who sacks his manager when fourth only time will tell.
Cowley has job security at the moment and will look at the example of Paul Hurst at Ipswich and know that it could all go wrong if he jumps ship to quickly.
He is not a man to stand still, and the key to all this is the ability of Lincolns board to find the money for the club to progress without putting its long term financial health in jeopardy.