DANNY Cowley is excited to be facing Southend United in a competitive fixture for the first time tomorrow.

The former Concord Rangers boss, who was also previously head of PE at Rayleigh’s FitzWimarc School, has worked wonders since taking charge of Lincoln City in 2016.

And Cowley is looking forward to welcoming the Shrimpers to Sincil Bank.

“It’s a game we’re excited about as Southend are our local team really,” said the 40-year-old, who is assisted by his brother Nicky at Sincil Bank.

“We’ve always been West Ham fans but I remember when we were younger Southend would often play on Friday nights so we would go down and cheer them on.

“We have several friends who are season ticket holders there and obviously we taught a lot of supporters when we were at FitzWimarc.

“I can still remember the buzz around the school when they beat Manchester United and they are a club we are very respectful towards so it will be great to play them in a competitive fixture for the first time.”

Cowley - who has taken Lincoln from the National League into League One - has often been linked with Blues in the past.

But the 40-year-old insisted he had never come close to taking charge at Roots Hall.

“There’s been speculation but I think it’s always been people putting two and two together and getting the wrong answer in truth,” said Cowley.

“But we look forward to welcoming Ron Martin, Kevin Bond and the fans this weekend.”

Lincoln have made a strong start to the season, with three victories in succession, but Cowley is not getting carried away.

“We have a very small squad and we’re short of numbers so the first objective will be to get to 50 points,” said Cowley.

“If we can push on from there then great but it’s the first time this century that Lincoln have played at this level and we’re very humbled to be here.

“We’ve made quick progress but when that happens you can face big challenges on and off the pitch which is what we’re facing now.”

However, the Imps have coped well with the step up in standard and bolstered their squad with the signing of ex-Shrimper Jack Payne in the summer.

“I never thought we would have a chance of getting Jack in but we love having him here,” said Cowley.

“He had a great education at Southend and he has unbelievable enthusiasm for the game. We’re lucky to have him.”