Three loan stars and the Football League

The rather excellent 2-0 win at Boreham Wood yesterday really underlined the strength¬†and depth that City have at the moment. The FA Trophy seems to be a competition that Joe Ward favours, and at the moment it’s the only one he can get a game in.

I was surprised to see Josh Ginnelly on the bench, but I think that is a testament to how much Danny rates the Burnley winger. Josh is very much ‘one for the league’ whereas I feel Joe Ward is being kept with the FA Trophy in mind, but as valuable back-up should we pick up any injuries between now and the end of April.

I do think that rather undervalues the ability that Joe has though. In his three FA Trophy outings he’s scored three times, and the one game he didn’t score in (Gateshead) he was amongst the key performers. He’s pacey, direct and has a little bit of trickery about him as well, in fact he’s similar in that respect to Ginnelly.

I can’t help but wonder if the two players are having an extended trial period here at Lincoln. If (and it is still if) we go up, Danny will need to strengthen in some areas and I suspect Ginnelly is one player he’d be willing to splash some of that hard-earned FA Cup money on. Joe Ward might have been on the periphery of any future transfer plans, but if he keeps slamming home goals and eventually drives us to Wembley, then he too could force his way into the reckoning for a permanent move.

The same goes for Billy Knott. At present it looks to me as if Danny is trialling a 4-2-3-1 formation, he certainly did at North Ferriby, and it looked that way to me yesterday as well. If that is the case he could comfortably accommodate both Knott and Woodyard at the expense of the second striker. 4-2-3-1 rules out Matt Rhead though, the big man isn’t mobile enough to plough a lone furrow up front. Hopefully the experimenting is because we’re looking for a plan B, not a new plan A. We don’t need a new plan A just yet, it’s been working out fine so far.

I did wonder if the reshuffle was to try to accommodate Knott in the line up with Woodyard, rather than to find a new formula. Alex Woodyard is known as the manager’s son, but I imagine Billy Knott isn’t far behind given his history with Danny and Nicky. Things haven’t really worked out for him at Gillingham, and I suspect Knott is also here with a view to making the move permanent. Danny often says of players ‘we shouldn’t really have a player of his quality here’, but if we were Football League, then maybe we could. Billy Knott is getting extended game time at the moment, and I think that is with a view to getting him back to his peak fitness. With Ginnelly and Ward we can see what they are capable of and what they bring to the side, but with Knott I don’t think we’ve seen half of what he can do.

I would imagine the chances of getting Josh Ginnelly permanently¬†are very slim, the chances of securing Billy Knott permanently a little bit more likely and the chances of bring Joe Ward in probably more favourable than most. DC won’t be committing to anything before he knows where we’ll be next season, but if we have learned anything about him, it is that he will already have one eye on the next campaign. There might be a few contracts to tie up for our existing players, but I can only speculate that Knott, Ginnelly and Ward are also on the radar.

I haven’t brought Dayle Southwell into the equation because in my humble opinion, his Imps day are numbered. It will be very interesting to see if he starts alongside the big man against York on Tuesday. If he does then I may well be wrong, but something tells me that he’ll be returning to Wycombe after his loan spell is up. We know Knott, Ginnelly and Ward are here for the ‘long haul’ of the next two months, but beyond that? Who knows.

Danny Cowley. That is who knows.

Photos by Graham Burrell

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