Even though the league season has been completed for just a couple of days, attention will soon turn to the current playing squad, and which players are to be retained for our League Two assault.
It is highly likely that some of the players parading around the city tomorrow receiving the adulation of fans will be looking for a new club just 48 hours later. Football is often a cruel business with highs and lows coming very close together. Danny Cowley has spoken of the difficulty in the days ahead.
“I know what the easy decisions are, but the easy decisions are not always the right ones. I’ve got to make sure I make the right decisions on the behalf of our supporters and our football club”
Read into that what you will, but it seems the easy decisions are to give everyone who helped us up into the Football League a new contract. Sadly, sentiment doesn’t win football games and there will be one or two players who will be incredibly disappointed come the middle of the week. I’m going to look at the players currently hunting a fresh deal, and discuss how I think the next few days might pan out for them.
Paul Farman: lets start with a nice easy one. Paul Farman has been superb this season and despite Danny often being reluctant to offer him direct praise I think he’s nailed on for a new deal next season. Even if we were hunting a new keeper to increase competition I cannot see how a man with 58 or so appearances this season can not be turning out for City next year. He deserves league football as much as anyone at the club.
Lee Beevers: Big managers make tough decisions with an indifference but with compassion, and I think our manager has got a really big call to make with regards to Lee. He’s been a great ambassador for the club, and had he not suffered that shocking injury then I think he would have gone on to have a superb season. Unfortunately he did, and I think it is going to be very tough for Danny to offer him a new deal. Given the magnitude of the injury and the stage of his career he is at, I wonder if he’ll be looking for coaching roles and part time football next season.
Terry Hawkridge: Terry has had a good season without every being a stand-out performer. He’s been more than a squad player, but less than the first name on the team sheet, but I think he has enough on his side to win him a one-year deal for next season. His end product is improving and he offers an option out wide. He won’t be a first team regular as the level of opposition improves, but he’ll be important to have around the squad.
Jamie McCombe: I don’t think Jamie will get a playing contract next season, but I think he’ll remain part of the club set-up. That would be the right decision in my eyes as well, and Jamie would perhaps even concur himself!
Alan Power: Alan battled adversity over and over again last season, starting on the fringes, fighting his way in and then finding his chances limited once again. My spidey-sense tells me we might be in with a shout of bringing Billy Knott to the club, and that would complete the midfield duo. Will Danny see the immense attitude and ability of Alan Power as an asset on the bench? Or after seeing out our entire non-league campaign, will he fail to win a new contract now we’re promoted? Sadly I think we might have seen the last of him, and that would be a crying shame.
Callum Howe: Despite being a fringe player all season I think we’ll see Callum in a Lincoln shirt next season. He’s always put a great shift in when he has been called upon, and he’s still young and hungry to succeed. He is arguably the best footballing centre back we have at the club, and he will offer something in the league above.
Luke Waterfall: If Luke Waterfall doesn’t get a contract for next season I’ll come to every game in a Grimsby Town shirt with ‘H 8 IMPS’ printed on the back. There is more chance of Clive Nates being released.
Bradley Wood: I hope that Bradley is one of the players we retain for next season. I don’t need to bang on about how much I rate him, I’ve done it all season. There is a little part of me that just wonders if he may have slipped from favour a little bit, but I suspect Danny will realise even if he doesn’t have Brad as his starting full-back, he has the tenacity and commitment to the cause that you need at any level of the game.
Jack Muldoon: Another immensely popular player like Brad, a man of the people who always applies himself correctly and goes about his business in the same way whether he is training or playing. I like Jack Muldoon, of that there is no doubt. Will he still be here next season? The jury is out on that. I wonder if perhaps he isn’t seen as a winger and as a centre forward we’ll be recruiting heavily. If that is the case he may be one of the unlucky ones.
Adam Marriott: Adam signed on a one-year deal to try to prove his fitness, and all season he seemed to be battling to actually do it. The shoulder injury didn’t help, and you have to wonder how much that affected him through into the New Year. If you listen to the top ten goals of the season he scored one and set up another, which shows the potential level of his contribution. Much depends on how Danny sees his long-term fitness. If he can give 90 minutes every two weeks he might just get a nod, but his lack of pace may be a reason to let him go. Adam is a player I would be desperately sad to see depart the Bank.
Youngsters retained: Jenk Acar, Taylor Miles, Alex Simmons,
Youngsters released: Kegan Everington, Elliot Hodge, Andrew Wright,