Dayle Southwell – It’s not that far-fetched anymore

The talk of a fourth striker has been rattling around ever since Matt Green waltzed into the boardroom to sign his deal, and Ollie Palmer ducked under the door frame to sign his. Danny has been fairly open about wanting to bring in two players for each position, and whilst a 4-3-2-1 formation would negate the need for a fourth man, I suspect he’ll cover all bases and bring one in.

More on formation later today, but first I felt compelled to look at the possibility of Dayle Southwell returning. Yesterday there was talk of Shaun Tuton joining City, in the past similar strikers such as Paul Mullin and Ade Azeez have been linked with us. Now, despite fans thinking it won’t happen, I’m led to believe that perhaps signing Dayle Southwell isn’t all that fanciful.

There are lots of reasons why it couldn’t happen, the primary one being Wycombe’s desire to develop their centre forward. Their summer recruitment has been less than spectacular, on the whole they’re relying on the basis of their side from last season to get them through. They do have more players who can operate up front than City at the moment though, as well as the Beast Akinfenwa they have Scott Kashket, Paris Cowan-Hall and Paul Hayes taking their striker tally to five.

Now, why would he move back? He’s still with a Louth girl, and although I believe she moved to Wycombe with him there’s a chance that they desire a return home. Dayle hasn’t had the easiest of times in Wycombe, his first season was blighted by injury and now he has just twelve months to prove himself. What if Gareth Ainsworth cannot see regular first team football for Dayle? Maybe he thinks that cashing in, say £25k, would be a decent return?

I’ve chatted to a few people around Louth about Dayle and him maybe making a return, and I got a surprising response. Two separate sources tell me he’s just taken out a year’s subscription at the Meridian Leisure Centre gym in Louth. That is two people who also told me he is all set for a surprise return to Sincil Bank, and possibly not even on a year-long loan. It has been suggested Lincoln City are not done yet when spending some of that hard-earned cash.

It is interesting the lukewarm reception the news received when it first broke on Twitter this week. A year ago Dayle Southwell was the man of the moment, muted as a possible partner for Matt Rhead and allegedly days away from agreeing a deal. Eventually the lure of a Football League chance turned his head, and off he went to Adams Park.

As we know he picked up an injury but in January of this year he headed back on a short-term loan deal. We got a half-fit Dayle Southwell, a player whom perhaps wanted to impress his ability on his ‘local’ club, whilst also looking to gain match fitness. Gareth Ainsworth hoped his player picked up sharpness, but at the time we needed a fully-fit player to help pull us through a tough spell of games.

His Imps spell started really well, a debut goal within minutes of kicking off in the FA Trophy gave me reason to believe we had finally got the goose that laid the goalden eggs in the squad. That wasn’t how things worked out though, a missed penalty against Woking was followed by a lukewarm display as we laboured to a 3-2 win, although when Dayle came off after 69 minutes we were 3-1 up and cruising. Then, Burnley in the cup. I can’t remember the score that day, but we must not forget Southwell came on, and his cross led to the first corner, that led to the second corner that led to a goal. He played his part in our historic win, albeit a small role.

Now, on to North Ferriby away. Southwell rather infamously had a little strop when being dragged off the pitch with City leading 1-0. Those fans that noticed it weren’t impressed, me included. I predicted there and then his Imps career was over, and bar a brief cameo at Boreham Wood in the Trophy I was right. Looking back, maybe he had cause to be frustrated, and maybe it was at himself rather than his team mates. After all, he wanted to score goals and impress the gaffer, but without being full-fit he struggled. We went 4-3-2-1 at North Ferriby too, Southwell starting as the lone striker. Imagine not being fully fit and having to plough a lone furrow up front against a compact and physical side like North Ferriby. When your number flashes up on the subs board you might have reacted angrily as well. Fans see it as going against our team spirit, but perhaps for Dayle it was frustration at being unable to show what he can do.

I’m seeing his return as increasingly possible, and putting off the team photo shoot by a week or so makes me think Danny isn’t done yet in the market. There will definitely be a left back coming in, I think we’re all hopeful of the other full-back position being covered by the big kick off, so that just leaves a striker. Shaun Tuton might be an interesting acquisition, but Dayle Southwell would be too. He’s a goal scorer, he’s got a point to prove and he is still young enough to realise his potential given a chance.

24 hours ago I couldn’t see it as being possible, but with the cold light of Sunday morning shining through my office window, as Johnny Nash succinctly put it, I can see clearly now. What I see is the very real chance of Dayle Southwell picking up that number 31 shirt again and finally showing Lincoln City fans what he is capable of.