Imps closing in on deal for Booty

City are heavily rumoured to be closing in on a deal to bring Huddersfield Town youngster Regan Booty to Sincil Bank on a year-long loan deal.

I’ll leave the amusing puns and obvious terrace chants to those more adept than I, but it does appear there is more than rumour to the stories. Pictures emerging on social media this morning seem to show Regan at the training camp in Portugal yesterday afternoon.

19-year old Regan is an industrious and energetic central midfielder whom I know is rated highly at Premier League Huddersfield. He captained their Under 23 side before being offered a professional deal in January this year, and at the time manager David Wagner was enthusiastic about the player’s prospects. Talking to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner he said:

“Regan has trained with us on many occasions and was a part of the first-team group during pre-season, now he makes the move into the senior group full-time. Regan has earned the opportunity to take the space in the central midfield area of the squad that Ivan Paurevic has left. He has good football intelligence, he works very hard, he is a good talent and has a lot of space to improve even more.”

Huddersfield were once play-off semi-final opponents of City, but since our paths crossed in 2005 much has changed. Whilst we spent most of the last 12 years in steady decline, they’ve managed to progress to the hallowed turf of the Premier League. David Wagner is a promising young manager, one who did not have his head turned at Christmas when Wolfsburg in his native Germany came calling. He put’s trust in his youth, as he explained further.

“Regan will move into the first-team changing room and train with us every day as well as play games with the Under 23s. That is still important to his improvement. When we have a space in the squad, we always look to the academy first. If we think a player is good enough, he will get the opportunity – just as Regan is now and Philip Billing has before.”

I spoke to Kevin Plummer, a Huddersfield fan I worked with a few years ago, and he enthused about Regan’s prospects.

“Regan is a really promising talent, and if he is close to joining Lincoln it will be a good move for both clubs. He’s really hard-working, he does a lot of the unseen stuff, the middle of the park running and simple distribution. I often say he plays football simply, but he plays it effectively. His chances will be limited now we’re facing Liverpool and Arsenal rather than Burton and Rotherham, so it makes sense for him to join a lower league club. I’m surprised he hasn’t gone to League One, I think he’s at that level. Having watched him for the Under 23 side he looks every inch a proper pro, captaining the side despite being young.”

It would appeared Regan offers something similar to Alex Woodyard, the midfield industry and endeavour that acts as both a back-up to the attack, but also a valuable sponge in front of the defence. Currently, discounting trialist James Rowe, we have just Alex in that position, and with the possibility of even more games this season than last we will need sufficient cover in all areas.

It would seem an interesting move to dip into the Premier League’s youth teams again following the arrival of Jordan Maguire-Drew and Josh Ginnelly, but Booty is clearly highly rated at the McAlpine and Danny obviously sees something he can add to the group. I would imagine it points to a second option in terms of formation though, Regan won’t be coming here to sit on the bench. Perhaps Danny would like the option of having two in the middle of the park, and then a bank of three ahead of them in a 4-5-1 formation.

We saw glimpses of something like that at North Ferriby last season, and although it is more defensive than our usual 4-4-2 it is one of the manager’s favoured formations. Sources tell me Danny would have deployed it more last season if he’d had the personnel to do so, but even with Alan Power we only really had Alex Woodyard who could play the true box-to-box role. The 4-5-1 relies on a mobile centre forward with lots of stamina and incredibly high work rate too, and in Matt Green we finally have that player.

Left-footed Regan also boosts our quota of players on that side of the field, he’ll join Maguire-Drew as a new natural left-footer, and if we pursue our interest in Brandon Ormund-Ottiwell too it will make us perhaps the most balanced in terms of footing that I can remember. Gone are the days of playing a right-footed player at left back, or even out on the left flank. Danny is a big believer in horses for courses, left footed players on the left, wingers out wide, and square pegs in square holes. We saw last season with Jack Muldoon that once he identifies a player as operating in a position, he tries incredibly hard not to put him elsewhere.

The name Regan Booty isn’t one that will set pulses racing at Sincil Bank just yet, but he has a football pedigree and comes highly rated. His Dad Martyn played lower league football with Huddersfield and a number of other sides, so he comes from a football family. The Terriers clearly rate him and had they not been promoted I suspect he wouldn’t have been coming out on loan. Remember the underwhelming arrival of a young player called Charlee Adam from Birmingham? He turned out to be a real gem and I wouldn’t be surprised at Regan having the same impact.

We await official confirmation that he has joined, and indeed that it is him on the photos in Portugal, but it does appear we will be landing a player that adds value to the squad, and as we know that is Danny and Nicky’s mantra.