Lincoln City supporters have come to learn, ever since he arrived at Sincil Bank in October 2009, that Chris Sutton is a manager who speaks openly and honestly.
The former Celtic star nearly had a bitter taste of basement division football last year but narrowly avoided relegation. Yet Sutton has regrouped his team and knows exactly what he has in mind for the new campaign, which surprisingly to some fans is not outright promotion.
“You have to look where we came last season [20th] and where we are now, there is a difference. We’ve brought our own players in through the free market and we haven’t actually spent any money.
“Every club has ambition, but there has to be realism. This club over its history hasn’t done overly well. The challenge for me is to do well and move it forward.
“I think expectations are high amongst fans, which I think they are before every season. Fans in general aren’t daft but they want progression and improvement, that’s the aim for this season,” the 37-year-old said.
Notts County won League Two last season proving to fans nationwide that having an increased financial budget can have a serious effect on a team’s overall performance. This is a thought manager Sutton doesn’t share completely, instead believing success starts on the training ground.
“There’s lots of different ways you can look at it. I suppose if a club’s budget is bigger, the expectation could be that the club want promotion, so then they come under pressure.
“I certainly feel if we’re lucky with injuries then we’ll do okay. But in terms of play-offs and automatic promotion, I think there are a lot of teams who, budget wise, are stronger than us.
“But it’s not about budget, it’s about being slick, and cohesive and hopefully we’ll be well organised and cause problems.”
The City boss has signed a total of six players over the summer break and among the new recruits are pacey wingers Mustapha Carayol and Albert Jarrett. The Imps didn’t possess a great deal of pace last season and it’s something that Sutton thinks will be noticeably different, and could be the key to success on the pitch.
“I think you need to have strings to your bow, and you need to score goals. I think that’s always been the case with players who can cause problems.
“I think we are lucky that we have players with pace and who can play. If we keep these guys fit then we’ll cause a lot of problems, but we also need people who can hold the ball up.
“Ultimately at this level you’re always going to sacrifice something. It’s never going to be perfect and it’s up to us to find some solutions and try to implement them through the training where we can be effective and also good on the eye.”Tweet