There’s been lots of chatter surrounding the futures of our hero centre back Sean Raggett and what might happen if he does stay with Norwich in the summer. One name I keep hearing whispered around the place is that of Leicester centre back Sam Hughes.
Firstly, if Raggs does go back to Norwich and stay there it will see the end of eighteen months of absolute brilliance from the former Dover man. He’s been the beating heart of everything great at the club in the past season and a half, he’s been brilliant at both ends of the field and will always be remembered fondly in these parts. I wouldn’t begrudge him a return to Carrow Road, even if he ended up back in League One on loan. Sean Raggett owes us nothing at all and I’m sure every Imp respects whatever decision Norwich make.
If he stays, brilliant. However, even Michael Hortin seemed to believe Raggs wouldn’t be here after Luton and if he thinks that, I suspect it might be the case.
If it is, attention will turn to who will replace him in January. Of course, we do have Callum Howe on loan at Eastleigh, but Callum and Luke didn’t look solid enough two seasons ago in the National League and there’s no reason to think that will have changed now. Rob Dickie will remain at the club for the season and maybe even convert his move to a permanent one, but doubtless Danny will want to add someone to the ranks. The name that keeps cropping up, on a loan deal, is Sam Hughes (pictured top).
Hughes rose to prominence last season with Chester and was the subject of a January bid from Barnsley. That was turned down but Leicester came in during the summer with £130k plus add ons, an offer too good to refuse. A number of other clubs had been rumoured to be monitoring the situation, Fulham, Crystal Palace and the far less illustrious Lincoln City.
When Leicester decided whether to sign Hughes or not, they actually involved Lincoln City quite heavily. They decided to use his handling of Matt Rhead as a benchmark. Leicester staff reviewed how England international Michael Keane managed (or didn’t manage) Rhead in our FA Cup 5th round tie. They then looked at footage of how Hughes went about his business during Chester’s encounter with the Imps in April. Having compared the two they rightly believed that it was Hughes who coped the best with the threat of Rhead and they made their move.
Since then Hughes has impressed at Leicester, scoring a goal in their recent Checkatrade Trophy win against Scunthorpe. However, they see his development as needing physically demanding first team football, possibly in the Football league. I understand they’re on the look out for a team to take him for six months and nurture him properly.
It’s a well-known fact in January, sides with a reputation for managing young players are offered the cream of top-flight (or Championship) youngsters to give them some experience of first team football. Danny Cowley will almost certainly be one of the managers entrusted with younger player, could it be Hughes has been offered to us? Maybe. He’d certainly fit the bill when it came to filling Sean’s shoes, he’s a big lad at six-foot and is still young at just 20 years old. He could even be compared to Raggett, he’s incredibly similar having come through the ranks at Chester but instead of winning promotion and scoring an FA Cup winner, he featured in a struggling team.
There’s no doubt he’d be a solid signing, but would Danny rely on two on-loan centre halves to carry us through the second half of the season, or is a bid being prepared for someone more permanent? Also, with the excellent return to form of captain Luke Waterfall, what are our centre back requirements? Maybe Michael Bostwick organising them from just in front is enough to convince Danny that Rob and Luke will be fine together with Callum on the bench as back up.
Only one man knows best, Sir Danny of Cowley. As usual, he’s revealing nothing at all. He won’t even confirm the Danny Rowe deal is done, despite Mick McCarthy blurting it out a week ago.