Tomorrow promises to be quite a day, one way or another. It’s widely believed there is a big announcement coming in the form of a returning hero, a belief backed up by some social media posts by fans who, in the main, do not post unless they are certain something is happening.
With Tuesday’s date at Rochdale looming ever-closer, some fans have been panicking at the lack of signings. The transfer window opened seven days ago, we’ve brought one in but the multiple departures seem to have caused some concern. Sean Raggett (pictured) is a big loss, but both Dickie and Maguire-Drew had been on the periphery in recent weeks as we enjoyed an upturn in fortunes. Remember, Maguire-Drew has already been replaced with Danny Rowe and Rob Dickie’s involvement was limited so in truth it is the depth we’ve lost, not so much the first team options. Sean Raggett can’t truly be replaced no matter who we sign, he’s a one-off.
For the Rochdale game it wouldn’t be the end of the world to see Michael Bostwick paired with Luke Waterfall at the back, allowing either Elliott or Billy to play alongside Alex in the middle of the park. Despite us fielding weaker sides in the competition up until now, I sense Danny might just want to put a strong side out at Spotland. This is a winnable tie, Rochdale are second from bottom in League One having won just four all season. With that Wembley hoodoo not just reserved for us, but also for the manager, everyone wants to get past Rochdale and as such I think we’ll be rolling out the big guns. Mind you, with a squad of 17 we don’t have a lot of choice!
Rochdale did grab a win in the FA Cup this weekend though, 1-0 at Doncaster. I’m sure they’d rather have league points and I’m also sure they’ll be putting their first teamers on the bench ahead of their match with 16th placed Gillingham on Saturday. I expect their fringe players to get a game and when you consider only six league places separate us and them, the tie is ours for the taking.
Whatever they’re doing though, it is movement at Lincoln City which is the focus of everyone’s attention. Many expect to hear news of a signing tomorrow, if not a couple. After all, Rochdale might not be crucial but Notts County is and when they roll into town we need to be on top form. County are rampant at the moment and our tactic of having Bozzie and Woodyard holding would work well against them as they’ve got real quality behind the front two. However, a lack of movement in the market means Bozzie would have to play centre-half, thus weakening our midfield offering….. unless…..
Well, unless the internet rumours are true because if they are, we’ll have a new central midfield partner for Woodyard even if we don’t bring in a centre half. Perhaps that is Danny’s plan, move Michael Bostwick to the back and employ a new central midfielder who can advance further than our current pairing do. I know there’s lots of chatter about Bostwick only coming here because we’d play him in central midfield, but I don’t believe our manager would be dictated to in that way and I don’t believe he would dictate a team selection that way either. Michael Bostwick is a good honest professional, a no-nonsense man who works tirelessly for the team. I can’t see him throwing his toys out of the pram because he has to play fifteen yards deeper than he currently does.
It does bode well for Luke Waterfall though and I’m delighted for him. Whatever happens, Luke is once again vital to our progress and, after being out for a while earlier in the season, that is a testament to his character. You didn’t hear any complaints from him as he warmed the bench earlier in the campaign, he just got his head down and worked. He’s now back in the heart of our defence and, bar a truly manic Monday, he will be against Rochdale and Notts County.
Whatever happens, make sure you have an electronic device nearby tomorrow because all indications are you’re going to need it.