With January coming up I keep getting asked by readers who I would like to see sign for City. I do a lot of research and try to keep abreast of players who may be available, may be on the move and may be on our radar.
I decided to do a small section on the players I’d like to see at City. Now, I must stress this is not based on anything other than players I’d love to see in a Lincoln shirt. There’s no inside knowledge, there’s no indication these players are even available and most of all, there is nothing to presently link them to Lincoln. Not unless stated that is. I have tried to name players where there is a possibility, so the likes of Christian Doidge are not on the list. So here, in no particular order, are four players I’d like to see sign for Lincoln this coming transfer window.
There’s that name again, the nearly man of Lincoln City. Akinola was the subject of the protracted and ultimately disappointing transfer deadline debacle and many fans believe he will be joining us as soon as the time is right. Whether that is the case or not is irrelevant here, I’ve included him because he’d be a bloody good signing.
First of all, Danny and Nicky believe he is good enough to play for Lincoln City. He was here, in a training kit, waiting for his clearance. Due diligence had been done, probably made null and void by the fact they already know him, but in a way that is irrelevant also. They know he can do a job for us and, aside from perhaps two or three players, they’re rarely wrong. They showed their hand in August and revealed he is a player suited to the club and therefore he’s one I want.
What Simeon would bring is pace and power, perhaps adding a nice dimension to our attack. He’s good in the air but also has the speed and agility to pick up play once he’s involved in an early phase. I won’t take anything away from Matt Rhead, his attributes are well-known and well loved, but Simeon brings something a bit different. He’s not quite as robust (neither is a ten-tonne digger) but he’s infinitely quicker. He has a keen eye for goal too and I think he showed his character by going back to Barnet and forcing his way into the reckoning there. I don’t think the manager fancies him though, not now Akinde is back. Barnet need to freshen things up and Simeon Akinola just hasn’t hit the mark for them.
He offers options out wide too and I think flexibility is something we lack across the final third. Our wingers are wingers, our strikers are strikers and nobody can rift between the two. Simeon can and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him in red and white once February arrives. This isn’t speculating though, this is me stating I think he’d add value to our group without being a direct replacement for any of the players.
“We already have him though” is the cry I hear as you read that. Before anyone starts angrily tapping away, I know. I know he’s on loan here but I’ve seen enough of Rob Dickie to believe he’s a League One quality players and, after all, that is where we’re going eventually. He’s currently filling a loan spot up and Danny will use his loan spots as joker cards. He won’t add a player to the group who doesn’t improve the group permanently, but I think he’ll use loans as gambles or wild cards. Rob Dickie has proven he’s a quality centre half, he’s proved he is a fit for Lincoln City and I think all that truly remains is to do the business with Reading and get it over with.
Signing Dickie would also show loan players looking at a way out of their club that if they play well they’ll get a chance. Sean Long and Harry Anderson are two others who came on loan, impressed and are now a key part of the squad. The questions over Sean Raggett’s future will rage on but if we’re going to climb the divisions we’re going to need to have settled centre-halves. It is okay bringing players in as cover or on short-term deals but consistency is king across the back and signing Dickie permanently would begin to cement a key part of the field. It might also give the player peace of mind to push on in the second half of the season, knowing this is now his home. Remember, this is what I want to see and in my eyes, the centre half pairing is as important to sort out as the striker situation.
You may have heard of Franks, you may not, but if Sean Raggett is to go I think we need to bring in two defenders. It may seem odd for me to be wanting two players in across the back when we’re so short up front, but I always maintain a tight defence is where you start building a successful team. If I could have my pick of centre halves to come to City I’d go for Franks.
I wrote about him a bit in pre-season too as he’d been linked with us, rumours of a £50k bid being turned down by Stevenage have crossed my inbox a time or two. He’s out of contract at Stevenage in the summer and has been integral to their decent showing this season. He can play at full back as well as in the centre of defence although he prefers the middle of the pitch. However, that versatility is something else I think could be useful. Currently we have great competition from three players in full back positions, but if one were to get injured we’d look a little threadbare. If one of our centre halves had the ability to cover too we’d look more complete across the middle of the pitch.
Franks is a threat in the box and has represented England C in his earlier years. He’s been out injured since October, limping off in Stevenage’s 3-0 defeat by Yeovil.
I do know some of you will be screaming at your screen that we have Callum Howe at Eastleigh and he’s been playing really well, I grant you that. However, Howe and Waterfall did not look good together when they paired in 2015/16 and I’m not sure they would be risked as a pairing, should Raggett go. I see Franks as a player with League One quality in him and as I’ve already mentioned, that is where we’re going.
Before you talk about work rate or him being here before, it’s not the same Danny Rowe. I don’t want to see the Fylde player here, he’s playing at his level and he failed here. I see no sense in bringing a player back in who has failed once before.
No, the Danny Rowe I speak of is the former Macclesfield player over at Ipswich. He is reported to have shown encouraging signs since arriving at Portman Road for £100,000 in January, but he hasn’t been able to secure a regular spot in Mick McCarthy’s side. He has made just three appearances this season, including a start at Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup.
He’s classed as a winger but can also play through the centre and there’s just something about him I really like. He’s quick and tricky and clearly has the ability to do well otherwise why would Ipswich have signed him? I think he’s prime Cowley material, a player who has stepped up and found it tough going, but now has a point to prove. Furthermore, McCarthy has already said he can go out on loan in January. Speaking to his local media recently McCarthy said: ““Danny needs to go and play games, a bit like Kieffer (Moore), so he’s someone who can maybe go out on loan in the new year.” Kieffer Moore is currently leading the League One scoring charts at Rotherham by the way.
The only caveat here is I don’t want to see Rowe arrive on loan, I’d love to see him make a permanent switch. Danny wants to make a statement in January, he wants to recruit heavily and recruit well and to bring in a player of Rowe’s quality on a permanent deal would have other clubs turning their heads and wondering if we might just be in the promotion race until the very end. I’d imagine Mr Evans would be very envious as he juggles players around in January, but the difference is we’re adding to a small squad and building, he will be dismantling his own expensive squad from the summer and having another go.
Do we need another wide player? It could be argued JMD, Josh and even Nathan have struggled a little this season, but in truth Danny Rowe isn’t just a winger and that is crucial. I think we need a link between those two powerful defensive midfielders and the centre forwards and sadly both Billy Knott and Elliott Whitehouse have not done enough, in my eyes, to show they warrant a starting place in the league. I’d really like to see us go out and get someone to do that job effectively, someone who will make our opponents ears prick up with envy.
Tomorrow: Four more faces I’d like to see sign including a striker, another attacking midfielder and a youngster you may not have heard of before.