Continuing my look at players recently released by their clubs, I’ve picked another selection that I believe will (in one way or another) feature at Sincil Bank next season. These are players released by League One clubs, and I suspect a good portion of them will end up in our division. Whether they’re worth a contract with Lincoln City is another thing entirely.
Josh is the brother of former Alfreton manager Nicky Law. He played a bulk of his career at Alfreton before securing a move to Scottish Premier League side Motherwell. This season he’s turned out for Oldham Athletic, but missed our FA Cup victory over them. He found himself on the fringes of the squad despite them having a disappointing season, and he started his last game for them in the 0-0 final day draw with Wimbledon. His release will come as a surprise to some, Motherwell had wanted to retain his services but he chose to return to England for family reasons. He can operate at the back or as a defensive midfielder, and has strong connections with Chesterfield as that is where he started his career. The smart money would be on a return to the Spireites to help their League Two push.
Ebanks-Blake is a strong and imposing forward who began his career as a Manchester United youngster, spending time out on loan at Royal Antwerp. He was tipped for a career at the top, but it hasn’t worked out that way for him. His most prolific spells were at Plymouth Argyle where he averaged a goal every three games, and then Wolves where he scored ten Premier League goals in three season, and a further fifty-plus in the Championship. Following spells at Preston and Ipswich he wound up with Chesterfield. 10 goals in thirty outings last season seemed a reasonable return, but aside from back to back strikes in March he hasn’t impressed in his second season.
He’s a former million pound player who is big and strong, and potentially could play the Matt Rhead type role if required. Whether he would fit into our wage structure, or be happy ‘job sharing’ is another thing entirely. At 31 he might not fit the profile of young, hungry footballers that Danny and Nicky seem to target but he definitely has the ability.
There is an outside chance we might need to strengthen at centre back next season. I would be surprised if big Jamie remained on a playing contract, and there is speculation around Sean Raggett. If we do need a centre half, we could do worse than recently released Charlie Raglan from Chesterfield.
Charlie grew up in Tenerife and spent his youth with a couple of Spanish sides including CD Marino. Eventually Port Vale brought him back to the UK, although his only regular football came on loan at Hinckley before a move to FC United. It was from there that he was picked up by Paul Cook who described him as ‘very much one for the future’. The future has now arrived and Chesterfield have let him go.
He’s a six foot centre half who still has a lot to offer the lower divisions. He went on loan to League One Oxford this season and played 16 times after making just three appearances for Chesterfield. He’s proven to be a capable and composed defender who is still only 24. I can see him joining up with a side in our division, possibly somewhere closer to his Wythenshawe roots such as Accrington, Crewe or Blackpool.
Dean Bowditch is another player that perhaps failed to live up to his early hype. After making England u16, u17 and u19 appearances he looked set to have a long and impressive career, but in seven years at Ipswich he failed to break through as expected. Two years at Yeovil brought 25 goals, and he’s spent the last six years with Milton Keynes, although he has been less than prolific there netting 37 times in almost 200 outings.
He isn’t an out and out striker, he can play just behind the front two but young Elliott Whitehouse has that role sewn up I think next season. My gut feeling is perhaps Bowditch will end up back with Yeovil, or at another team in our league looking to utilise his vast experience in the game.
and finally if we’re being really ambitious
This is one of those speculative long shots that some of you reading will chuckle at and mutter ‘no way’. You might be right, but Moussa has just been released by Walsall and he’ll be on the hunt for a new club. I’ll tell you this much, any team signing him in our league would be showing some real intent.
For those who don’t know he is a former Belgium youth international who served his apprenticeship with Anderlecht, West Ham and Cambridge before joining Southend as a 16 year old. In February 2009 he scored his first Southend goal by running the length of the pitch to pick up a cross from none-other than Theo Robinson.
Since then he’s played Championship football with Doncaster and Leicester, had two years in League One with Coventry City before a year at Charlton led him to Walsall. He’s a midfield player with a penchant for a spectacular goal, and he has that touch of class whenever he is on the ball. He is composed and can pick a pass at will. At 27 he still has some good years of football ahead of him as well, and his release will surely alert League One sides up and down the country.
With over 250 appearances to his name in the second and third tier, any team in the basement division bringing him in surely means real business. He has already been linked with a return to former club Coventry City.
So that’s my round up of out of contract players for today. Keep an eye out for more coming your way as and when I find five minutes.