Lincoln City, Milton Keynes Dons and Tranmere Rovers were all promoted from League Two last season. We look at how Lincoln did it, what they will bring to League One and how they can strengthen over the summer.


(NOTE: We purposefully decided not to include Bury out of respect for supporters who face so much uncertainty regarding the club’s future existence. We wish the Shakers every success with finding a buyer in the next three weeks.)


The 2018-19 story…


After three top seven finishes, three trophies and two titles all in three years, Danny and Nicky Cowley have elevated themselves into the conversation for the best Lincoln City management team of all time.


Perhaps the greatest compliment we could pay the duo is that, before suggestions of an official approach from West Brom was publicly denied, it was difficult to imagine Lincoln without them at the helm.



The Cowley brothers have families who have settled in the area, they have previously sacrificed budgetary support to finance the construction of a new training ground, which will help the club shop in a loftier market and improve their own players for decades to come.


They have a unique connection with Lincoln and the sense of connection between them and supporters was central to their title win.


What they’ll bring…


The Imps have gained a reputation for being very physical and direct, which was fair based on the Cowley brothers’ first two season in charge – but they evolved last term.


Switching from the old-school 4-4-2 we saw in 2017-18, they adopted a more modern 4-2-3-1 setup with an attacking midfielder in Danny Rowe starting at the expense of a second striker.


Although Lincoln retain the brawniness that has been central to their rise, with Michael Bostwick being an imposing figure in defence, their use of the ball revolves around swift transitions on the deck.


The left-sided partnership of rampaging runner Harry Toffolo and inside forward Bruno Andrade has done damage to plenty of teams and should thrive in League One, with athlete Harry Anderson and conservatist Neal Eardley offering more balance on the right.



Summer targets…


Mark O’Hara’s loan deal from Peterborough expires this summer, so Lincoln could do with another powerful midfielder to compliment dainty technician Tom Pett.


Danny Rowe’s loan from Ipswich is unlikely to be extended while Shay McCartan has gone back to Bradford, so an attacking midfielder with the craft to play in John Akinde would help.


The squad Lincoln already have is strong enough to achieve consolidation in League One and, after a meteoric rise, it is important the Imps find their bearings in the third-tier before setting sights any further.

Lincoln City Odds:

To be relegated

To be promoted

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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