There is still plenty of football to be played this season, but for Lincoln City the on-pitch drama has ended. We’ve applauded the players, we lauded the managers and we’ve lined the streets as the bus brings the city to a standstill.
Inevitably there will now be a queue of free agents waiting to hawk their skills around various clubs, and even as the first trickle of players are released there are some tasty looking options surfacing. I imagine this is a tricky time for football managers, so many options and yet so few squad spaces to fill.
I’ve had a look over the released lists from ten clubs, and put together a list of players I believe could do a job at Lincoln City in one capacity or another. Luckily, given that my back has now ruled me out of work (again), I’ll be scouring these lists each day to try to spot the potential diamond in the heaps of manure that find themselves without a contract.
Elliot Durrell (Chester City)
It would seem strange to talk about a player that has been released by a lower-half National League club, but Durrell really impressed me earlier in the month and I was surprised to see him released by Chester. He’s done the rounds in the non-league scene too having been at Tamworth and Wrexham. His performance at Sincil Bank may well have been a one-off, but I thought he looked tricky and capable of making things happen.
Adil Nabi (Peterborough)
I think the Posh retained list held as much interest for us as our own does! It came as no surprise to see Lee Angol placed on the transfer list, and it would be even less surprising to see him start the new campaign as an Imp. Harry Anderson has been offered a new deal there too, but I wonder if he might also have an eye on a move to Sincil Bank?
I wouldn’t be upset if a third (and even fourth) player joined up from London Road. Nabi was once liked to Saido Berahino and it was claimed he had as much technical ability as the Premier League striker. After a spell in India his career hasn’t really taken off, and he’s endured a miserable spell with Peterborough this season. I feel he could do a job in League Two, even if it were as a squad player, certainly given his technical ability and his England u16 and u17 honours. At 23 I think Nabi still has a lot to prove and has the potential to be a really good player at our level.
Michael Bostwick (Peterborough)
It’s important to note that Bostwick hasn’t been released, he has been transfer listed just as Lee Angol has. Bostwick isn’t a young man, he’s 28 but he has almost 400 appearances behind him at Posh and Stevenage. He represented England C once in 2008, but since then he has gone on to establish himself as a solid Football League midfielder. He can operate in the centre of the park or in the back four, so he’d bring versatility as well as experience.
He’s also a big West Ham fan which I’m sure would endear him to Danny and Nicky. When he first signed for Posh three years ago they were a Championship club and he was labelled their ‘number one’ transfer priority, so it is a real surprise to see him listed this season. He joined them for an undisclosed fee and I’d expect he would still command a low six-figure fee which may rule him out of a move to City, but he’d certainly be an interesting addition to the squad.
Jake Gosling (Bristol Rovers)
Jake is a 23-year old midfielder who spent the latter part of the season on-loan at Forest Green Rovers. He is contracted to Bristol Rovers, but he started last season on-loan at Cambridge United in League Two, having spent the end of the previous campaign at Newport County.
He is predominately a wide player which is an area we know Danny likes to have plenty of cover, and you may have heard his name mentioned as he scored in a European Championship qualifier last season for Gibraltar against Poland (a game they lost 8-1). He made 28 appearances for Bristol Rovers as they beat Grimsby in the National League play-off final in 2015.
He has some League Two experience, but he hasn’t enjoyed the best of times on-loan at Forest Green, but he did join as they faltered in the run-in to the season. He was a victim of Mark Cooper’s itchy trigger finger, making his last appearance in the 1-0 home defeat against North Ferriby.
Paul Anderson (Northampton)
There will be no shortage of takers for the 28-year old former Liverpool youth following his release by Northampton. He’s had a sterling career at clubs such as Nottingham Forest and Ipswich, and he still has a couple of good years left in him. His release is something of a surprise as he’s made 42 League One appearances for the Cobblers this season scoring seven goals.
He’s a former England u19 international who operates comfortably on both flanks which would bring us versatility and the option of swapping in the middle of a game which Danny does like to do. He may be a little out of our salary range, and with us needing centre forwards it might be a luxury to be looking at another winger. Much depends on the immediate futures of Harry Anderson and Josh Ginnelly, two players I’m sure Danny would rather bring to the side. There’s little doubt though if Anderson does find himself in League Two he’ll be a real handful for any defender.
Jak McCourt (Northampton)
The final player on the free agent list for now is former Leicester City youngster Jak McCourt. He is a 21-year old central midfielder that made 32 appearances for the Cobblers in League One this season, but fell out of favour as stumbled to a mid table finish. He is described as having a ‘good range of passing’ as well as being ‘athletic and combative’. To make that many Football League appearances at his age does show bags of potential, but perhaps League Two would be a more comfortable level?
He struggled in pre-season with a shoulder injury that may have impacted his contribution to the side, and before joining the Cobblers he had an unhappy spell on the bench at Barnsley as they won promotion to the Championship. As a peripheral figure for much of his career he’ll be hungry to join a side that can offer first team football, and should Billy Knott not be available to us, perhaps McCourt would be a player that could add something to out midfield options.