Loan Stars: Part 2

Welcome to the second part of my look at the players we have taken on loan this season. I’ll get straight on with it.

Josh Ginnelly

It has come to my attention that Josh Ginnelly is currently dividing opinion. My own view is that Ginnelly is a really good player, one who can turn a game on it’s head given half a chance. He’s tricky, direct and will willingly run at players all day long. Against York in the league his decision making wasn’t always perfect, but he did change the game. I thought he had a positive impact in the FA Trophy second leg too, but apparently not everyone agrees.

I have seen people commenting that he is a luxury player, and I personally think that is harsh. I think we’ve seen enough to know he terrifies full backs when he is on the ball, and I suspect some of the loan players are viewed with scepticism as they’ve arrived after many of the season’s best moments. I think it is worth remembering we have 12 cup finals ahead of us, and so-called luxury players like Josh Ginnelly have the sort of contribution in their locker that might earn us that vital point or three we need come the end of April.

I also think Josh is the type of player we should be looking at securing for next season if we are promoted to the Football League. He is clearly a quality footballer, and a lack of final product is perhaps something we’ve seen short term, but longer term his natural ability will shine through. He hasn’t moved from Shrewsbury to Burnley because he’s a show pony, he’s moved to Turf Moor because they see the high quality footballer that he has the potential to be. I firmly believe that there is no better place for such a player to be than Lincoln City, playing regular first team football under two of the best man-managers we’ve ever seen at the club. If we do go up and if we do keep Josh Ginnelly he could quite well go on to be a Lincoln City great.

Dayle Southwell

It all started so well for Dale, a goal five minutes into his debut against Welling gave fans hope that he might be the perfect partner for Rheady as the season enters it’s final six weeks. Unfortunately after that goal his input amounted to very little, and I suspect fitness was the main issue. He never looked sharp in City colours, and after throwing a little tantrum as he was taken off at North Ferriby, I figured he’d be on his way quite quickly. I wasn’t wrong, that proved to be his last league action, and just ten minutes in the Trophy at Boreham Wood concluded his short Imps stint. He had a dignified exit though, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Danny Cowley. If our manager isn’t going to lash out at the referee on Saturday he certainly isn’t going to say anything negative about a player that has left the club. He’ll leave that sort of short-sighted vitriol to me.

Dayle is another player whom I think came here for fitness and couldn’t show us his best form, much the same as Tom Champion. Like Tom, Dayle has gone back to his parent club (Wycombe) and started four games, although all of those have been goalless for him. Again he is clearly a player with a great amount of potential, but his short stay at Lincoln City didn’t show that potential. Gareth Ainsworth sees a quality striker in there somewhere, and Danny and Nicky do too. I don’t, but that is why they work in football and I currently sell building materials for a living.

Ross Etheridge

Ross has played just one game, so it is very hard for me to judge him fairly. However, in that game he did let in two goals, at least one of which he perhaps should have saved. If he had, would we now be going to Wembley?

It’s a lot to put on the young lads shoulders, and as I’ve mentioned before the experience we had with Elliot Parrish has shaken my confidence in loan goal keepers. Of all the positions in a football team I think keeper is the one that requires consistency and confidence, and I suspect the latter may have already deserted the young keeper. Very few outfield players make one appearance and disappear, even if their debut is a stinker they invariably get another chance. With keepers I think it is very different. A bad position for a defender on his debut can be rescued and quickly forgotten, but for a keeper it an cost a goal, a game or even a two-legged semi-final. Harsh? Perhaps so, but I can’t see Ross playing again unless Farms picks up an injury. Cover, nothing more.

As for laying the Wembley blame at his feet, it is once again the sort of short sighted view that a rose-tinted spectacle wearing fan such as myself often expresses. If he hadn’t played, Farms would still have been injured so I could be lashing out at one of our other keepers, young Richard Walton perhaps? It isn’t Etheridge’s fault he had to play in such a big game for the club behind an unfamiliar defence. He made one slip (two in some people’s eyes) but had it not been for Ben Toner giving a phantom penalty we would still have progressed. Had Elliot Whitehouse put his effort in the net we would still have progressed. It is very east to find scapegoats for failure, but in the case of young Ross Etheridge it would be grossly unfair.

Tomorrow: Billy Knott has quality, but is he showing it? Is Joe Ward getting enough games? Can I possibly judge Riccardo Calder on one game?