But for Danny and Nicky Cowley, the victory over Burnley which saw Lincoln become the first non-League side into the quarter finals of the FA Cup in 103 years, the focus has already moved to tomorrow night’s National League fixture.
By the time most of the 3000 travelling fans who watched Lincoln record their historic win at Turf Moor woke yesterday, the two brothers will have watched and analysed North Ferriby Town’s 2-1 defeat at Dover from Saturday.
And after that their previous two matches against Braintree and Macclesfield as well, “bantering” a plan together, as the older brother Danny put it.
Fun Cowley style with a very small ‘F’.
“The next 24 hours will be spent watching football. Three 90 minute matches of their most recent games. That is the detail. Nothing is going to get in the way of watching North Ferriby,” said older brother and manager Danny, 38.
Danny Cowley won't let anything get in the way of their league hopes
Lincoln will face either Sutton or Arsenal in the quarter-final
“Being promoted into the Football League can change our lives, so we owe it to the boys to put the same amount of focus into Tuesday’s match as we did against Burnley.”
If the two gladly paint a picture of two football obsessives, poring over North Ferriby Town 0 Macclesfield 2 from January 28 for signs of weakness, it was not for the benefit of the cameras or microphones at Turf Moor.
Imps goalkeeper Paul Farman said: “The way they live. The way they look at football can’t be healthy. They are workaholics. All they do is eat marmite on toast and watch football.
“When you walk past their office you can always smell toast – that’s all they eat. They are sat there all the time watching videos of football. When they come to training in the morning you look in their eyes and they look shattered.
“But as soon as it switches to 10.30 and we are on for training they are like men possessed.”
Twitter reacts as Lincoln City beat Burnley in FA Cup
Sat, February 18, 2017
Lincoln City beat Burnley in the FA Cup to secure their place in the quarter-finals
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Lincoln beat Burnley in the FA Cup and Twitter went nuts!
Such attention to detail and such an unbending work ethic plotted the downfall of a nearly full-strength Burnley on Saturday. And it was no fluke either – a point generously conceded by Clarets manager Sean Dyche.
Sean Raggett’s late header may have won the fifth-round tie to emulate Queen’s Park Rangers from 103 years ago, but this was a brilliant team effort with its foundations in sweat and organisation.
Lincoln are a big, powerful unit who play direct at times but matched Burnley for fitness and just shaded them for desire.
The Cowley brothers both gave up careers in education last May to go full-time at Sincil Bank and with Lincoln three points clear at the top of the National League with two games in hand of their nearest pursuers, they were clearly right to back themselves.
Their run in the Cup has already earned £1million for the club [Saturday’s win netted £180,000 in prize money] and a lucrative quarter final could easily double that. For a non-League side, that should be enough to catapult them into the League and beyond.
If the two brothers in charge think only of the trip to North Ferriby, everyone else was allowing themselves a dream of Wembley, with just 90 minutes of football between Lincoln and a semi-final there.
“At the start of the season we had a list of targets where we wanted to get to in the League and the cups and I joked that we would win the FA Cup,” said Matthew Rhead, the 17-stone former JCB engineer with hands the size of buckets.
“Anything is possible. I also said I’ll retire if we win the FA Cup which I’m starting to regret now. Three more wins and I’ll be back with the JCB!
“We all know we have a bigger picture with the League but the longer this run keeps going the more people actually believe we can beat anybody.”
Farman insisted he would not swap a National League title for an FA Cup Final if both were offered but suggested, with a smile, that he might take both.
“Burnley have been how many games unbeaten here [eight] but it is the magic of the Cup isn’t it? It is very hard for players to play teams from lower down,” he said. “It’s like Sutton. They are a big side too who might trouble Arsenal. If they have worked like us this week they stand a chance.”