3 Things The Cowleys Need To Do To Get Lincoln Promotion
It's been a remarkable few years for Lincoln City, who enjoyed a spectacular FA Cup run last season and earned promotion to the Football League after running away with the Conference title- and they've since shown they're capable of holding their own in the Football League pyramid.
After 30 matches, with 16 games still to play, the Imps find themselves sat ninth in the League Two standings- just two points behind the play-off spots and five behind the automatic promotion positions.
A number of sides have impressed since rising from the Conference, achieving immediate promotion to higher tiers, and Lincoln are aiming to enjoy the same success this year- although there's still a lot of work for the Cowley brothers to do.
If back-to-back promotions are to be achieved, then football's rising sibling pair need to do these three things in particular.
Continue a remarkable run
Since losing to League Two leaders Luton Town at the start of the month, the Imps have enjoyed a six match unbeaten run across all competitions and defeat to the Hatters was their first since November.
That remarkable run has helped Lincoln continue to fight near the top of the table and, with things so tight at the top, they need to ensure that run of form continues for the foreseeable future to force their way into the play-off standings.
If the run does continue, then there's every chance that Lincoln will establish themselves as leading contenders to take one of the three automatic promotion spots available in English football's fourth tier- saving Lincoln from the dramatic, and somewhat unfamiliar, grounds of play-off football.
Take points off promotion rivals
From second down to Lincoln in ninth, every side will hold aspirations of achieving promotion and Colchester, Newport County and Crawley Town below the Imps will harbour outside hopes of sneaking into the picture.
As it stands, Lincoln need to make up ground on Coventry, Swindon, Exeter, Accrington Stanley, Mansfield, Notts County and Wycombe ahead of them- which means taking points off of their rivals when they clash, ideally in the form of victories.
Lincoln are still to play Mansfield (4th), Exeter (6th), Wycombe (2nd) and Accrington (5th) before the end of the season in May, which gives the Cowleys four crucial matches in the chase for promotion.
Make Sincil Bank a fortress
Of the aforementioned four clashes against promotion rivals, Lincoln play Exeter and Wycombe at Sincil Bank - and the Imps need to ensure they get the best possible result, turning their home ground into a fortress.
With seven of 16 matches to play at home, giving Lincoln a further nine matches on the road, the Imps need to ensure that their home form is spot-on; which it has been so far, losing just twice on home soil this season.
Their away record has lacked consistency, which needs to improve, but it raises the significance of the matches at Sincil Bank as Lincoln need to raise their game and frustrate their opponents when they make a trip to Lincolnshire.
Thank you to Graham Burrell and Lincoln City FC for the photograph.