July 28, 2022 8.00 pm

“I’m very passionate about my job”: Mark Kennedy looks ahead to first Lincoln game

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s League One season opener

Lincoln City manager Mark Kennedy has been hard at work implementing his “aggressive press” play style on the squad ahead of his first season in charge at the Imps.

The EFL season begins this weekend after a summer break, and it’s all change at Lincoln City. There is a new manager at the helm after Michael Appleton’s departure, in the form of ex-Republic of Ireland international Mark Kennedy.

The former Birmingham City assistant manager is gearing up for not just his first full season in charge of Lincoln City, but of any senior professional side – having only spent half a season at Macclesfield Town in 2020.

Kennedy has spent the last month or so preparing the players for the new campaign with a rigorous pre-season schedule, which he told The Lincolnite was all about ensuring the players understood how he wants his team to play.

After rumours and whispers of who it might be, Mark Kennedy is the new Lincoln City manager. | Photo: Andrew Vaughan / Lincoln City FC

During his press conference ahead of the season opener at home to Exeter City on Saturday, Mark Kennedy said: “I’ve gone really big on trying to implement my style on the current group and I’ve been really impressed; the buy-in by the players has been phenomenal.

“I’ve laughed and joked with them because they might well hate it, but from a coach’s point of view looking at it, they have given absolutely everything and tried everything that I’ve asked of them, sometimes to the extreme!

“In certain situations, because I’m talking about a high, aggressive press, we’ve been going at times where we just can’t jump there, but it’s that enthusiasm and wanting to show what we want to do. It’s music to any coach’s ears.”

Kennedy has discussed more additions in the coming weeks before the transfer window closes, but he has already brought in a number of players to the squad – such as Paudie O’Connor, Charles Vernam, Tashan Oakley-Boothe and Carl Rushworth.

Charles Vernam, 25, will be returning to his roots as he signs for his hometown club Lincoln City. | Photo: Andrew Vaughan / Lincoln City FC

He said of the squad: “We’ve got a good group of players and the players we’ve brought in, we identified them as being very good before they came in, and they’ve shown that as well.

“The transition is always hard for anybody when you’re coming to a new club, it was quite funny on the first day we told the players to make the new guys feel welcome, and I’m stood there telling them this thinking I’m in the same boat!

“Football is a brilliant environment, it braces you in and it can be really positive, and I think our players have made it really easy for those guys.

“The biggest compliment I can pay the players that are here already is that you would think the new guys have been here for a long time.”

Kennedy was also asked about how he has found his early times at the club, for which he had nothing but praise for Lincoln City from top to bottom.

He added: “I’m very passionate about my job. When we’re presenting to players who come into the club, I think we’re very good with what we presented them.

“With any pitch, people are trying to sell you the sun, moon and stars, and the biggest compliment I can pay the club is that what we’ve pitched to them is real, and when I spoke to the club about myself coming in, it’s not just a sales pitch to get you through the door, it is everything that it was, and I can testify to that thankfully.”