I’m back to work today, doing a proper job that involves not being poised by my computer ready to write about anything that happens. It means I’m writing articles a day or two early and scheduling them to come on. Just so you know.
As you know I love trying to second guess who we might target and recently I covered many non-league players that might tickle our fancy. There is of course the possibility that we will look higher up the league spectrum to find solutions to our requirements, and one player who might fit the bill is former Dover striker Stefan Payne.
Payne is well known to Imps fans, he netted a brace in their 4-1 win at Crabble last season before securing a move to Barnsley. He hasn’t settled up north though, and he’s been restricted to just seven appearances from the bench.
He’ll be well known to the Cowleys, and not just because of his goal scoring exploits last season. Prior to that he featured for Hornchurch in the National League South, scoring 35 goals in just 46 appearances. The goal return isn’t dissimilar to that of Adam Marriott, and with Payne also comfortable on the wings he may offer alternatives going forward as we press on with our title campaign.
He’s only 25 and despite a few red cards littering his career he has plenty more to offer than a robust approach. He hit over 40 goals in 80 outings for Dover at this level, helping fire them to the Play-Offs last season.
It is highly unlikely Barnsley would release him permanently though, and I suspect if he were available then we’d be looking at some sort of loan deal. He’s only six months into a two-year deal, and there’s an option for a third as well if he performs well.
Barnsley are currently ninth in the Championship and with Sam Winnall and Tom Bradshaw the favoured pairing it might be advantageous for Payne to go out on loan. Whether they would favour a drop back to the National League or not is another thing entirely, but having seen the success Lincoln are having and knowing he’d probably get regular football, they might just allow it. Might.
Of course this might all be mindless speculation, but like with the signing of Raggett I suspect whatever is pulled out of the bag this January will be something out of leftfield, something that neither I nor other posters on social media have anticipated. Someone such as Stefan Payne would have the ability and experience at this level to help us kick on, and if he did sign it would be a massive, massive coup for the club.