There is a lot of buzz around social media this morning regarding a new signing (or signings) coming our way today, and as our date with league football looms closer they seem to be centred on the defence.
The main rumour circulating this morning is regarding Reading centre half Rob Dickie, a player seen at the ground by fans on Saturday. Of course he wasn’t instantly recognisable, but when I ran his picture yesterday many fans spotted him due to his uncanny resemblance to Sean Raggett.
The twitter account @royalsonpoint are reporting the deal is done, and most of my ‘little birds’ are telling me the same. I would imagine an announcement could have been made yesterday, the reason it wasn’t is unclear. Maybe the club are looking at hitting us with a double header?
I’ll write about Dickie later, if it is announced of course, but I wonder if perhaps we might secure one of the trial players as well? Both Matthew Briggs and Neal Eardly (pictured top) impressed in equal measure, although contrary to my blog of two nights ago, I suspect we might only move to bring one of those players in. I’m not entirely sure that we’ll see Matthew Briggs back in a Lincoln City shirt, but Neal Eardly has the versatility and the previous experience to offer exactly what Danny needs.
Picking up players now can be a risky business, not so much if they’re coming from a club such as Rob Dickie, but if they’re free agents. It is all well and good a player keeping himself fit through the summer, but that isn’t a substitute for a full pre season. Neal Eardly has suffered a terrible time with injuries, but at 28 he still has time to bounce back. With the team photo shoot taking place on Thursday I couldn’t be surprised to see him in it, but maybe a six-month deal in the first instance for him to work on his fitness?
The rather glaring fact is that we need a left-back rather urgently. Sam Habergham hasn’t had a pre-season, he simply isn’t in a position to start against Wycombe and as I’ve already said elsewhere I can’t see him getting regular football much before September. If Eardly is able to offer not only a temporary solution to that problem, but also options at right-back as well, it would seem a no-brainer that he be given a chance.
With people insisting Dickie was a ‘done deal’ yesterday, the only reason I can see for it being held back is the announcement of another player, or of course a delay in sorting out a destination for Callum Howe. Whilst I’m pretty sure any new face will be a full back, we are still light up front. Having spoken to Danny recently he has made it clear he’d like an extra option up top, a nippy striker to take some of the pressure off Matt Green. I would imagine that will be a player from the loan market, and like Dickie one coming in from the Championship or top-flight.
Tyler Walker had a great game against City for Forest last week and I understand he is someone our management team admire. However, with his proximity to the first team at Forest there’s every chance he’ll remain there until Christmas at least. Rumours of him going to Grimsby are way wide of the mark too, that simply is not going to happen. If he moves out on loan it will most likely be somewhere in League One. He’s a special talent and has a big future ahead of him, and Forest will want him playing first team football wherever he goes.
I’m surprised we haven’t had someone come in from Arsenal given the relationship between the two clubs. Arsene Wenger was clearly impressed by our set-up and our management duo last season, and they have some excellent young players there. Given that teams are looking to complete their permanent business now, the loan market will begin to open up a little more. We must be careful of that loan quota, with Josh, JMD, and possibly Dickie we’re getting dangerously close to the five-loan limit in the match day squad. There is no limit on the number of players you can sign on loan, but we’d be foolish this early to tie up too many squad places with loan players if not all could play. I can’t see Danny bringing in more than five players on temporary loans.
Is there a surprise centre forward waiting in the wings to be announced? Or, as is more likely, will we see an announcement around Rob Dickie and Neal Eardly? That would us some real cover across the back, and possibly a new forward to follow once we have a relatively strong match day squad already in place?