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Bookies’ favourite Cowley responds to criticism over playing style

PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 April 2018

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley is favourite for the Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

Lincoln City manager Danny Cowley is favourite for the Ipswich Town job. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Lincoln boss Danny Cowley, the current favourite for the Ipswich Town managerial vacancy, has responded to criticism over his style of play.

Danny Cowley and his brother Nicky on the touchline during his side's Checkatrade Trophy final victory. Picture: PADanny Cowley and his brother Nicky on the touchline during his side's Checkatrade Trophy final victory. Picture: PA

During his near-two seasons in charge of the Imps, the former Braintree boss has secured promotion to League Two, moved his side into the fourth tier promotion race and won the Checkatrade Trophy with victory over Shrewsbury at Wembley.

His achievements have seen him become favourite for the Ipswich job, following the departure of Mick McCarthy, although there has been criticism regarding a style of play perceived by some to be overly direct.

But, speaking ahead of his side’s clash with a Wycombe side subject of similar criticism, Cowley insisted he and brother Nicky are flexible in their approach and play the way they do to get the best out of the players at their disposal.

MORE: Ipswich Town managerial favourite Danny Cowley ready to sign a new contract at Lincoln City

Cowley's Lincoln beat Shrewsbury to win the trophy. Photo: PACowley's Lincoln beat Shrewsbury to win the trophy. Photo: PA

“I think a lot of the criticism comes from teams who can’t deal with it and, where the confusion lies is that both teams go quite quickly into their frontman,” he said.

“But once they go into their frontman both teams play passes, connect passes and make passes.

“We both have goalkeepers and centre forwards who have the attributes to go quickly and directly into the final third. There are other teams who have a slower build-up and make seven, eight, nine, 10 passes, and that’s another way of playing. If you have the players to play that way you can do.

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“But if you look at us and Wycombe you will see two teams who have scored a lot of goals, who are involved in a lot of goalmouth action and that play front-foot, aggressive and exciting football.

“I hear a lot of people, managers normally towards the bottom of the league, who talk about the ‘right way of playing’. I think when you hear managers talking about the right way of playing, it’s normally off the back of a defeat.

“For us we are clear on our style. People talk a lot about philosophy in football and I’m not sure football is that complicated.

“But, if it is, ours is to be tactically flexible, to work with the players we have at our disposal, find the best system of playing with the players that you’ve got and a style they feel confident in.

Cowley has defended his playing style in the wake of criticism.  Picture: STEVE WALLERCowley has defended his playing style in the wake of criticism. Picture: STEVE WALLER

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“(Hopefully we can) win enough football matches so that, one day you can be at a place where you can pick all the players you want and you can play to all your ideals.

“Philosophy and ideals are pretty closely linked, aren’t they, and I don’t think you can afford to have either in League Two.”

Lincoln head into tonight’s clash with third-placed Wycombe eighth in League Two, level with Mansfield who hold the final play-off place, and have two games in hand on a number of the sides above them.

Cowley recently revealed he is close to signing a new contract at Sincil Bank.

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“That (staying) has always been the plan,” he told the Lincolnshire Echo. “I keep saying it but no-one seems to listen.

“As I’ve said before, when you’re enjoying it, learning every day and feel valued, I don’t see the need to move away from that pathway.

“I’m just focused on the team. I won’t allow it (speculation) to affect my focus because I know if it does then the results suffer.

“So you’ll have to trust me and trust what I’m saying and allow us to do what we need to do.”

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Paul Hurst believes young goalkeeper Harry Wright has ‘stepped up’ during the off-season and, as such, the Blues boss is happy to enter the new campaign with the teenager as his third-choice stopper.

Ipswich Town are interested in signing Tom Bradshaw and Ellis Harrison as potential replacements for Martyn Waghorn, according to national reports.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has ruled his side out of the race for Ipswich Town striker Martyn Waghorn.

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Teenage striker Ben Morris has his sights set on a breakthrough season for Ipswich Town after receiving a surprise call-up for the England Under-19 squad.

Paul Hurst will be an interested spectator at Lowestoft this evening as he continues to assess Ipswich Town’s young players.

Ipswich Town beat Crawley Town 1-0, at East Grinstead Town, in their latest pre-season friendly last night. STUART WATSON gives his snap observations.

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