As expected, Imps defender Callum Howe has secured a loan move to the National League, ambitious Eastleigh being the destination of choice until January at least.
Last season Callum played for Southport on loan, and caught the eye with some notable displays. He was made captain there, and Southport fans remarked that may not have gone down as easily as they did had he been there all season.
Eastleigh are a very different prospect to Southport though, up until last season they were regarded as amongst the favourites for the title due to their spending power. This season the budget is more in line with the rest of the division, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be mid-tables also-rans. Richard Hill is an experienced manager who will be hoping to challenge the play-off chasers in the right way.
He’ll be tussling for a starting spot with Ayo Obileye and a familiar face to Imps fans, Andrew Boyce. Boyce is a good centre half at National League level, and the neutral observer would perhaps have him down as Howe’s defensive partner. He will get games there, Danny would not send his player out on loan to sit on the bench.
Danny told the club’s official site: “For Callum’s development, it’s crucial that he’s exposed to regular first-team football. The only way a young player will improve is by having time on the pitch.”
Callum was desperately unlucky not to play more games last season, the form of Sean Raggett and Luke Waterfall meant he was restricted to a handful of displays, although whenever called upon he looked calm and assured. He’s played 35 league games for City and a number more in cup competitions, but he hasn’t featured this season which was expected.
He scored once last season as Southport beat Torquay 2-1, the other scorer that day was another ex-Imp, James Caton. Unlike Caton, Howe has managed to ensure he gets fifth tier football this season, and at 23 he still has the potential to gravitate to the Football League.
There is a train of thought that Callum and Luke Waterfall don’t complement each other as soundly as other defenders, hence the arrival of Rob Dickie on loan. Indeed, had Danny not rated Callum he would perhaps have moved on in the summer, I’m led to believe he had firm offers but chose to remain with City and fight for his place. His development will be the focus now as he gets vital first team games, hopefully ensuring that come the end of his loan spell he is in a position to fight for his spot at Lincoln City.
That does leave City with three recognised centre halves, one of which will be the subject of a blog by me later and perhaps the subject of more interest over the next few weeks. The surprise arrival of Michael Bostwick does mean Danny has cover at centre half, although not the ‘one for every position’ that he has been hoping to achieve. Does this mean another centre back is incoming? It is unlikely, but similarly you never quite know with Danny and Nicky!