Jamie McCombe is determined to get the Lincoln City players through what has been a turbulent week as the club prepares for its first match without Danny and Nicky Cowley.
The Cowley brothers spent more than three successful years at Sincil Bank, including two promotions and two league titles, as well as enjoying Wembley success in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The much-loved duo’s reign at the club came to an emotional end this week after they agreed to join Championship side Huddersfield on Monday.
In an open letter to Imps fans they said it was “without doubt, the hardest decision of [their] lives”.
Now that the Cowleys have moved on, Jamie McCombe and Andy Warrington are currently in charge of first team affairs at Lincoln with support from Jez George, the club’s Head of Football.
McCombe has overseen training this week along with Warrington, David Bridges and Tom Shaw. He worked with the Cowley brothers from when they first walked into Sincil Bank in May 2016.
In a press conference on Thursday, McCombe said: “I’ve been with Dan and Nick from day one so their ideas are mine as well, there’s been the three of us in that relationship from the start.
“The main base that we have built and the infrastructure implemented by Dan and Nick is pretty much what we will stick to.”
He added: “They’ve (the Cowleys) taken the club from the Conference and built an infrastructure and built the club all the way up to League One, which is a magnificent feat and they should be commended for that.
“They’ve done an excellent job for the club and the city and I don’t think anyone can hold it against them that they are moving on to better their career.
“It was a big decision for them to leave this football club and I think it hurt them deeply but they’re human beings and they want to succeed and they’ve moved on to further their careers.”
Although he will “forever grateful” for the coaching opportunity the Cowley brothers gave him, his sole focus is preparing the Imps for the visit of Bristol Rovers to Sincil Bank on Saturday, September 14.
When asked if he would be interested in the permanent job of being Lincoln manager, he said: “What I am interested in and the task that I’ve been given is to prepare players, they deserve that, to prepare them the best I can for Saturday.
“They’ve been through a turbulent week and we need to prepare them the best we can, so our sole focus is on Bristol Rovers at the weekend.”
Lincoln City have already begun the process of appointing a manager, with former player and Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth and Newport boss Michael Flynn among the favourites.
According to Sky Bet, Flynn is favourite to get the job at odds of 1/4, while Ainsworth is 4/1.
Ainsworth, who previously made over 80 appearances for the Imps between 1995-97, appeared to show interest in the job when he recently told The Totally Football League Show: “I’m really happy at Wycombe, they’ve been so good to me, but of course, I’m ambitious.
“I want a club that has ambitions to play in the Championship, to be as high as they possibly can. I know Lincoln City have got that ambition. What the Cowleys have built in their time there – it’s just awesome.
“I’m open to everything. Wycombe have this potential. I’m really hoping that the fans understand that, unfortunately, money is needed in football and to progress, especially to the next level. It’s going to take some serious investment.
“We have people willing to put their money in. The fans love owning their own club [Wycombe are currently owned by the supporters’ trust] and I understand that as well. But the ambition for me is to get into that Championship one way or the other.”
Meanwhile, the Cowley’s first game in charge of Huddersfield will be a Yorkshire derby clash against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.