Danny Cowley believes that the extension of Neal Eardley’s stay at Sincil Bank is another step towards the top following an impressive first season back in the Football League.

Eardley joined Lincoln on a free transfer last summer after a spell with Northampton Town. The 29-year-old impressed the Imps fans this campaign and was rewarded for his hard work by picking up the Vic Withers Memorial Trophy Player of the Season and the Imps’ Players’ Player of the Season awards.

“I think he’s had a brilliant season, he’s brought a wealth of experience. He’s technically excellent and has been consistent for us game in, game out,” said Cowley.

“We are delighted to be able to extend his contract and it is something which we have been really motivated to do since January. It’s taken a bit of time but sometimes it does, there has always been a motivation from both parties to make it happen and ultimately, I think the supporters have taken Neal to their hearts.”

The Imps boss continued by praising the former Welsh International saying his training ethic is one of the main reasons he has succeeded in his first season at Sincil Bank. The Imps boss said: “He’s a top player, he’s played right through to the highest level of the game and you can see that in the way he conducts himself and the way he plays on the training pitch.

“He’s an excellent trainer and he has got real quality. He wouldn’t have been available to us this time last year if it wasn’t for the injuries he has had. We have been able to find a programme which has allowed us to get him into the right physical condition for games on Saturday and Tuesday. It’s always the player who deserves the credit but I am sure Neal will be the first to commend the medical team and sports science boys.”

With the fullback signing a new contract until 2020, Danny Cowley believes the club are in the right place if they want to compete at the top of Sky Bet League Two next year. 

“We are in a much better place, we have the foundations of a much better squad and we now have to add the four or five who will help us improve to get to the position where we are competing at the top end of this league,” explained Cowley.

“We have done brilliantly as a group with a 19-man squad, to achieve what we have. Testament goes to the players for allowing us to do that, but now if we really want to push on we will be moving to our brand-new training ground which will have a huge impact on how we work on a daily basis. What we now need to do is to get the players who will take us to the next level.”