It’s a slow news week and I don’t want you to think I only write when there’s an award up for grabs, so I’ve decided to look at each player in the squad and assess their impact so far. It’s pretty standard stuff I know.
Harry Anderson 8/10
In what I suspect will be a firm feature of this blog, I’ve no complaints at Harry’s form at all. I think the bar has really been raised out on the flanks this season, and Harry Anderson has been a part of that. I remember fans hoping George Maris would sign, and even I really wanted James Caton, but Anderson is a different type of player completely. His ability to cut inside can be devastating, and he has a real keen eye for goal.
My biggest worry here is that he is on a youth loan, and at present he might not be around for the second half of the season. Whilst we have players who could deputise, I don’t think anyone in the current squad (except Arnold) can offer what Harry does.
Nathan Arnold 8/10
Nathan isn’t one to get all the plaudits, they seem reserved for Rheady and the ‘Woody’ brothers in midfield. That said I think it would be remiss not to highlight everything Nathan brings to the side.
The more I see of him, the more convinced I am that it’s the type of role he plays we’ve been missing. His quick and experienced, two things you don’t often get together, and although he isn’t a captain I do think he is a leader of men. I’ve heard off field Nathan Arnold is not you stereotypical footballer, he’s sensitive and thoughtful and he’s looking to teach and mentor younger players.
There’s no doubt at all he has still got league quality, and if he continues to perform to his current level all season I wouldn’t be surprised at his being mentioned in the end of season awards, somewhere.
Lee Beevers 9/10
I’m absolutely gutted for Lee, but if there ever was a time to get injured as a Lincoln player, it is now. Firstly we can cover his position, and secondly the club won’t be releasing him as he recovered like we did Conal Platt. Beevers will get the utmost support and encouragement to get back fully fit, and that is perhaps the only silver lining the experienced defender can take.
Up until his injury he was the one player who stood out as improving ten-fold under the new managers. He looked fitter, sharper and being experienced he looked more able to carry out the instructions given to him. His diagonal ball from deep towards Matt Rhead caused problems time and time again, and obviously our bad run of form coincided with him being dropped. It’s a measure of how far he has come when Bradley Wood was described as ‘a suitable replacement’ whereas four months ago he was first choice.
Macauley Bonne 7/10
The livewire striker had a significant impact in his first game, grabbing a crucial winner at Tranmere. Wins like that will be crucial as the season wears on, very few of our rivals will bring all three points back from Prenton Park.
The knock on the head and subsequent concussion againt Barrow upset his rhythm and upon recovery he didn’t look quite as sharp as he had before. His pace caused problems and I have no doubt he’ll remain a league footballer for a while to come, it was just a shame he wasn’t 100% fit the whole time he was here.
Tom Champion 4/10
You have to feel for Tom Champion. He is undoubtedly a good player at this level, but he became a victim of circumstance. The 0-0 draw with Solihull Moors in front of over 4,000 fans was viewed as a failure, and it was his inclusion that was the only change ahead of the game.
It didn’t help he pushed Woody to right back after he’d been looking good in midfield, or that he pushed Beevers to the bench when he was in the form of his life. Circumstance.
Of course it wasn’t circumstance that misplaced the pass against Bromley to cost us two points, and that mistake more than anything sought to highlight the rut he’d got into at City. The fans were on his back, the manager had openly stated playing him from the off against Solihull was a mistake and his response was to effectively cost us a win.
I felt he was made a scapegoat by some for what was an expected blip in form. It doesn’t help that since he’s gone we haven’t lost a game. Just remember he walked straight back into Barnet’s first eleven, proving he has the quality.
Paul Farman 9/10
For my money the best keeper in the National League bar none. He has a far sturdier defence in front of him than in previous years, but when called upon he’s really dug us out of some holes. The tie with Chester is the tie that stands out the most, we won 5-2 in a match we could have been losing 4-3 at one point. Every season he has matured and added new facets to his game. At 27 he still has a lot of years left in the professional game and I’m convinced he could be our keeper for many years to come.
Sam Habergham 7/10
I think Sam still has an awful lot to show Imps fans. He has been a steady seven every week, but I feel he could be a comfortable eight or nine. When Danny Cowley says we can only get better, I think that is in direct relation to players like Sam.
His one goal was stunning, whether it was a cross or a shot, and he does look to have a good understanding with Nathan Arnold playing ahead of him. When Arnold and Anderson switch I feel Habergham just drifts a little. Maybe it’s because Anderson is a bit more direct than Arnold? When Anderson gets the ball he is head down and gone, whereas Arnold often looks for his full back overlapping or taking off the pressure.
That said if he retains a comfortable seven every game through until May then he will have done his job.
Terry Hawkridge 6/10
It’s been a tough season for Terry. Last year he was one of the first names on the team sheet, potentially being our most dangerous wide player. However Arnold and Anderson have upped the bar and Terry is looking increasingly frustrated coming off the bench.
When he does come on he still shows the guile and willing that made him such a key player last season, but it isn’t going to be easy for him to force his way back into the starting line up.
His hard work at Torquay earned us the last minute win, he burst through and corrected a slip before setting up Matt Rhead, but all too often he has been restricted to late cameo appearances. If Anderson goes back then Terry will be a contender to replace him, and perhaps then he’ll have a chance to shine.
Elliot Hodge n/a
We haven’t seen enough of young Elliot for me to really make an assessment. Two appearances from the bench before he went out on loan were more an indication he is in the Cowley’s longer term plans.
Jonny Margetts 7/10
He was perhaps on target for the biggest surprise in terms of playing contribution. He was signed very much as a third choice striker behind Marriott and Rhead, but four goals against Southport signalled him out as a raw talent just waiting to be developed.
Rather than surprise us on the field though he chose to do it away from the pitch and signed a deadline day deal with Scunthorpe, robbing us of one of the season’s stories before it had really got going. Since then he’s featured once for Scunthorpe, a scoring cameo in the pointless trade trophy. The big question now is will we see him back in a Lincoln shirt before long?
I wouldn’t be surprised. I’ve heard a rumour that after the Dale Southwell move we enquired whether we could get him on loan, and with Margetts attending Imps games where he can he is clearly still very much in the managers minds. If a deal is possible I’m convinced the managers will explore and exploit it if they feel the need.
And finally for part one:
Adam Marriott 7/10
It has been a frustrating opening to the season for Marriott. He has come he to get match fit and rediscover the goal scoring form that earned him a Football League move, but at present we’ve only had glimpses of what he might be capable of. The bank holiday weekend double header of Macclesfield and Gateshead showed us his coolness and composure on the ball, and his sublime finishing ability. Would Adam Marriott have spurned the same chances Theo Robinson did against Altrincham? I don’t think so.
Marriott is a natural goal getter, another Liam Hearn in terms of ability. He’s got more about him in terms of attitude, so now we just wait and see where he lands on the sick note scale. One thing is for sure, if he gets fit and stays fit all the talks of another striker might just be redundant.