This evening I have decided to have a look at our loan stars and give my assessments on how they’ve done whilst at the club. It’s going to be in no particular order, but here is my view on the players that have been brought in to add extra strength to our squad.
You may think it is too early to have an opinion on Lee, but after seeing him on Saturday I am convinced of his worth to the Imps. He’s clearly a very confident and self-assured young man, something that all good strikers really need to be. His strikes against Braintree show he does have an eye for goal, and Danny and Nicky wouldn’t have brought him to the club if he wasn’t going to add significant value. The rumour of a £100k fee shows the esteem he is held in elsewhere, and I know we’ve only just begun to see what he is capable of.
I’ve started with Angol for a reason, and it’s related to the £100k fee. I’ve bandied it about, chatted to a few other people and I have come up with a theory that I think might explain the rumours. It confused me that a player could be in Peterborough’s first team one week, and in ours the next. If we’d bought him then I could perhaps understand it, but a loan deal? These days details of transfers are always very hush-hush, but this one has created a real aura of intrigue. I thought maybe Barry Fry and his manager might have concocted the story to save face, but why would they need to? They could have just hung on to him. There must be some element to the deal that has convinced them to let him come here. The boy is class, and although they may not feel he’s League One quality, I suspect he might just be if h’s managed correctly.
So how about this for a scenario? There is a £100k fee, but that fee is only payable if Lincoln City get promoted to the Football League. His initial loan deal costs us no more or less than Josh Ginnelly or Joe Ward, but if we secure promotion then it activates a clause that ensures he signs for us. I’d imagine then perhaps the Posh officials might feel comfortable talking about a £100k fee, because all being well they will get one. If we don’t go up then we don’t splash out a club record fee and Lee Angol is free to pursue a career elsewhere. How does that sound for a theory? I think it makes perfect sense, and it sounds like the sort of structured loan / permanent deal we know Peterborough like (remember Lee Frecklington). Whatever we say about Barry Fry and Peterborough the two clubs do have a decent relationship, and with both Anderson and now Angol we have benefitted from their generosity in loaning players.
Whilst we’re talking about Posh we ought to mention young Harry Anderson. When he first arrived I was amazed we’d managed to attract a player who was so direct and attacking. He looked every inch a ‘one-off’, the sort of flair player that National League teams can only dream of. Maybe we’ve been starved of such players, because since Harry we’ve now had Joe Ward and the excellent Josh Ginnelly as well.
Harry started me believing that Danny and Nicky could spot a player, and not just one they’d had or played against at Braintree. I didn’t know at the time he’d been at Braintree though! Whatever I initially thought of him, his influence early in the season should not be under estimated. Right now we have two players for one position, but back then Harry represented a rarity for City, a viable option on the flanks. His equaliser at Macclesfield was massive too, after going behind to them we were in danger of becoming no more than an upper-mid table side, but his goal and attacking prowess helped drive us to an away win that looks even more impressive given the context of a (nearly) full season.
Last Saturday Harry made his first appearance of the season for Peterborough as they went down 2-1 at home to Oxford. Unfortunately he came on as a full-back which is where I hear Grant McCann wants him to play. Despite his strength and pace he isn’t a full back, and I fear his promising career could be hindered if he isn’t played in his natural position.
Poor old Tom came in at a bad time for City, we had our blip whilst he roamed the midfield and despite not being that bad he came to be identified as the reason for the decline. For the record he wasn’t.
Tom Champion is a good footballer, but I think the circumstances of his arrival contributed to his miserable spell at the club. Even Danny would admit he shouldn’t have started against Solihull as we drew 0-0, his late introduction seemed to upset the balance of the side. Solihull were a well organised and efficiently drilled side, but often fans only see things from their own perspective. From an Imps fan’s view Tom Champion came in and we looked poor against a side we should be beating, therefore he was to blame.
I don’t think Tom had a bad game in a Lincoln shirt, I just don’t think he had a good one either. Perhaps his worst outing was at Bromley where he was deemed responsible for our 1-1 draw, in much the same way young Harry Anderson was deemed responsible for the positive things that afternoon. Football is a team game and although Tom did give the ball away, Blair Turgott still had work to do to bring the game level. Unfortunately that error led to him leaving the club, although he’d already lost the fans at that point.
Tom Champion is a good footballer (I’ll say it again as I doubt you believed me first time). He’s made 22 appearances (and counting) for Barnet since departing Sincil Bank, and with a little bit of luck he could have been a big player for us. We didn’t need him though, the Power / Woodyard combination eventually paid the sort of dividends DC needed, and therefore Tom is nothing more than a smirk in a season of smiles. He was let down by not training with us five days a week, by dropping into the first eleven too quickly and for playing in a run that included two draws and two defeats. He did feature in a Lincoln win, he played six minutes at the end of our 2-1 win at Wrexham, but that won’t make him the stuff of legends.
When we first signed Macauley I was incredibly excited. He seemed like the ambitious player that could help fire us up the league, a Lee Angol-type player with an air of arrogance and cockiness but also blessed with pace. His 67th minute winner at Prenton PArk ensured that he’ll have his name mentioned as contributing to the season, even if that was about all he did contribute.
Just a week or two later Bonne was joined by Tom Champion, and whilst Tom got the stick nobody said too much about Macauley. As his loan spell went on I thought he looked increasingly lost up front, although a severe knock to the head against Barrow didn’t help matters. If anything he didn’t look to be up for the physicality of our league, although he did drop back down with Woking earlier this year, a move which earned him a total of no-goals at all.
There is a place for Bonne somewhere, but having seen the quality of player we’ve brought in since (Ginnelly, Angol, Ward etc) I’m glad that place isn’t amongst our squad. Against us a few weeks ago he looked low on confidence, and having missed a sitter he drifted out of the game as Woking pressed for an equaliser. He’s recently got back into the Colchester side, albeit on the bench. Hopefully he can start to score goals again as he currently looks like a player who is not enjoying his football. If you’re reading this Macauley (which I doubt you are), and if it helps at all (which I doubt it does): I enjoyed your winner at Tranmere immensely, and I enjoyed your miss at Sincil Bank for Woking almost as much.
Tomorrow: Josh Ginnelly is great, Dayle Southwell isn’t and Ross Etheridge aims to become much more than a one-appearance wonder.