Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley has held his first press conference this afternoon since the Imps achieved promotion out of the National League at Sincil Bank.

Lincoln were the darlings of the nation for a short while last season. Not only did they win the division and earn promotion back into the Football League, but they also became the first non-league club to reach the FA Cup Quarter Finals.

They beat Premier League Burnley in the 5th Round before earning a trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal. That afternoon ended in a 5-0 defeat, but there was no shame in the brave performance against one of Europe’s biggest domestic clubs.

After that they won eight games in a row to win the league with two games to spare. That sparked dramatic scenes across the city including an open topped bus parade said to have attracted 30,000 local people.

As recently as a week ago a film based around the Imps’ season premiered across two screens at the Odeon in the city, and another 600 fans poured in to watch the unique documentary.

It made for a memorable season for Imps fans, but this Saturday sees the start of the new campaign. All the ceremony and celebration of just a few months ago is forgotten as they look to the upcoming season.

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley at his first press conference of the season.

Fans may have been revelling in the club’s resurgence but manager Danny Cowley, the architect of the remarkable rise from the ashes, has been working fervently to get ready for the challenges the club will face at a higher level. They kick off with a trip to Wycombe Wanderers, a play-off chasing side from last season managed by former Imps legend Gareth Ainsworth.

“I don’t think we could have asked for a harder start,” said Danny. “We play four of last year’s top eight or nine in the first five games. It’s good for me though, we’ll get a clear indication of where we’re at.”

Danny explained how as soon as the Imps domestic campaign finished, he was scouting his opponents for this year.

“I actually watched Wycombe and Cambridge last game of last season, Nicky went and watched Stevenage and Accrington to give ourselves an idea of what the level was.”

One of the major components of the club’s success has been the work ethic of the manager and his assistant, brother Nicky. Whilst most fans were still recovering from the championship run-in, they were off across the country watching prospective opponents they were set to face.

Lincoln have sold 5,500 season tickets, and although the opening game is away from Lincoln, over 2,000 are expected to travel to see the triumphant return. Danny was clear on his thoughts on the Imps’ wonderful fanbase:

“I’ve missed them, I’ve missed that noise and those songs through the summer. My life will be a better place this Saturday, to hear that noise again!”

“We’re back with the big boys, back in the Football League. The supporters certainly deserve it, they’re top of League One support there’s no doubt about that.”

Last season Lincoln sold around 1,300 season tickets and the opening game of the season attracted just 3,400. At the time that figure was seen as a major step forward, but it seems nothing compared to the potential 10,000 that will gather at Sincil Bank a week on Saturday.

Much has changed in a few short months. The ground has been given a clean and polish, players have come and gone and an internal restructuring has seen lots of new faces behind the scenes.

One thing remains constant throughout, and that is Danny Cowley’s methodology. Much is expected of the team this season, but Danny isn’t feeling the pressure, despite being keen to keep fans grounded.

“You don’t want to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, there’s a buzz around the city at the moment and rightly so. I do think we have to have a level of reality. If we’re around the top 12 come Christmas then we’ll get better as the season goes on.”

“Some people always talk about pressure but for me it’s really simple. Nobody puts more pressure on me than I put on myself.”

The Imps kick off at Adams Park in Wycombe at 3pm this coming Saturday.

Lincoln City have started preparing for life back in the Football League by bringing in four new players in the past 48 hours.

On the back of selling 5,300 season tickets, anticipation in the city is high that the club might have a good season. The new faces go a long way towards building the expectation.

Former Birmingham City striker Matt Green has joined on a two-year deal after being released by Mansfield Town. He was the Stags top scorer last season with 15 goals.

Another new striker is six-foot four Ollie Palmer, another who has signed a two-year deal. He joins after a season at Leyton Orient, and he also previously played for Mansfield Town.

Two of last season’s heroes have also returned to the club. Winger Josh Ginnelly has re-joined from Burnley on a season long loan. Josh described the Championship-winning day against Macclesfield as one of the best days of is life.

Crowd favourite Billy Knott is also heading back to Sincil Bank, he’s signed a one-year deal after being told he can leave Gillingham on a free transfer. Knott is a former Chelsea trainee whom the fans believe possesses the skill and guile to push on for league success.

The club are also close to announcing the arrival of another player on loan, a winger currently at a Premier League club. He’s been with the Imps since they returned to pre-season training yesterday and it looks like a season-long loan deal is again on the cards.

That won’t be the end of the transfer dealings either as the club look to strengthen ahead of the season opener at Wycombe Wanderers on August 12th. The club have moved to try to secure star players Alex Woodyard and Sean Raggett on longer contracts after both were the subject of interest.

Sean Raggett spoke to Norwich City about a move and was the subject of bids from Oxford United and Peterborough. More recently it has been Woodyard attracting attention, Scunthorpe United have submitted a bid amidst rumours of activity regarding Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers.

The ability to hang on to those players will be as important as the calibre of new faces as the Imps look to continue their remarkable success under Danny Cowley.

With crowds set to remain at their highest levels for years it is set to be another great season following Lincoln City. If the last 48 hours are anything to go by fans are in for another exciting season.

On Saturday Lincoln City secured a return to the Football League with a 2-1 against Macclesfield Town in front of over 10,000 fans. So, what is next for a club that has made the city proud once again?

There were joyous scenes across the city as jubilant fans celebrated an end to the club’s six-year exile in the National League. Their title win caps off a marvellous season in which they faced Premier League giants Arsenal in the FA Cup Quarter Final and reached the last four of the FA Trophy.

However, despite securing the title, there are still two more games to play in the league. A 100-point finish is still within reach, with trips to Maidstone on Tuesday and Southport on Saturday.

National League champions: Lincoln City celebrate after the match. Photo: Jason Paul Corrigan

The Southport trip will be particularly poignant for fans, as it was Haig Road that hosted their first match in the fifth tier, and it will host the last as well. Some 2,000 fans are expected to travel as the Imps bid a ‘fond’ farewell to the non-league scene.

After that, expect a short spell of celebrations. The FA Cup run alone prompted talk of an open-top bus parade, and with the league title also in the bag, that has been confirmed. The date that has been provisionally mentioned is Tuesday May 2nd, and Lincoln may well come to a stand-still as the City salutes its footballing heroes.

The club’s board will be meeting on Monday to discuss the future direction of the club too. As well as success on the pitch, much has been achieved off it. The balance sheet has never looked as healthy and City are expected to have a competitive budget for the coming season.

There will be much talk of fresh training facilities as chairman Bob Dorrian and the board look to match the lofty ambitions of the highly-rated management duo.

Once the celebrations die down it will be up to manager Danny Cowley and brother Nicky to sort out the retained list. It is likely some of the players who enjoyed such a wonderful day yesterday will not be kept at the club, such is the harsh world of professional sports.

Danny and Nicky Cowley opening the new library at Sir Robert Pattinson School. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The reality of returning to the Football League becomes finalised on June 21st, which is the day the fixtures are announced for the new season. Fans will be filling their calendars with matches against local rivals Grimsby Town and Notts County, as well as a mouth-watering trip to 1988 FA Cup winners Coventry City.

Everybody joined in the celebrations. Photo: Jason Paul Corrigan

After that there will be new players coming in too; high priority will be a striker which is perhaps one of the areas the team has looked under strength this season. Strong rumours link Peterborough loan player Lee Angol with a permanent move. July 1st is the official opening of the transfer window, and as well as adding to his ranks, Danny will be trying to keep his key players at the club.

Then it is on to the weekend of August 5th, and the beginning of the 2017/18 season, where we start all over again. It is almost six years since Lincoln lost their league status to Aldershot, but in just over two months they will, at long last, be able to re-join football’s elite.

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