One of the only negatives from the stupendous 3-2 win at Forest Green on Saturday was a fifth booking of the season for goal hero Sean Raggett, meaning a short lay off. In his absence it’s time to recall Callum Howe from his Southport exile, and welcome him back onto the Lincoln City promotion express.
The young defender has spent most of the season out on loan at Southport, joining up after our 4-0 demolition of them at Sincil Bank. He’s been incredibly impressive there, rising to captain the side in their recent revival.
He’s played 15 times for Southport and managed to get on the score sheet alongside former Imp James Caton in a 2-1 win over Torquay a few weeks ago. The fans and officials think very highly of him, and to that end Danny Cowley has played a blinder.
Raggett and Waterfall have looked immense, but rather than just having a talented player kicking his heels, we allowed Howe to get regular football at our level with a rival. With Howe in their side they’ve taken points off Tranmere, Eastleigh and Aldershot who are all in that chasing pack.
Now we need a fresh and ready player to drop in for Raggett, and Callum Howe comes with games under his belt. He’s clearly highly thought of there and he is already up to speed in terms of fitness. He’s even trained with us as Southport only train three days a week, so it’s as if we’re getting an in form new signing who already knows everything we’re trying to achieve.
Howe himself will be delighted to be back in the fold. Speaking in the match day programme against Aldershot he said;
“I am in regular contact with the manager. We speak before and after games and that communication is really good to have. Obviously I would love to be a part of the success we are having here and be in the team, but the lads are playing so well and in reality it would be tough to force my way into the side at the moment.”
At this stage of the season when games come thick and fast, and adverse conditions come in to play it pays to have a large squad, and it pays even more if that squad are able to immediately slot in where required. There will be no match rustiness for the former Scunthorpe man at all.
Southport fans are lamenting the loss of their captain. On the ‘Port Chat’ message board they’ve expressed dismay at losing such an influential player.
One poster, named Exile said;
“Has been a cornerstone of our revival. Like everyone else, would love to see him back here. Good luck to him…”
Another named Paskin wrote;
“Was only a matter of time as he as been brilliant for us. Hope to see him back one day! Good luck to him.”
It’s been common knowledge that Howe is still rated by the Cowley bothers, but it was a shrewd move to send him out so early in the season for game time at Southport. They couldn’t have picked a better club either, the side from Haig Avenue are one of the few I really like at this level. They’re a friendly bunch and they have affected the form of a few of our rivals.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Howe back there before the end of the season, depending on how Raggett recovers from the injury that threatened to rule him out of Saturday’s win. Let’s not forget just minutes before his venomous volley, captain Luke Waterfall also went down with a knock, so to have a fit and able replacement for either is a real bonus.
Southport will be hoping the recall is temporary, but I imagine any move wouldn’t happen now until January at the earliest. In the interim I genuinely wish Southport all the best, and I look forward to them being the last ground we visit during our National League stay, just like it was the first in August 2011.
photo by Graham Burrell