Strikers: The three most likely candidates

As the days begin to pass by in the transfer window, it seems as though Danny is intent on bringing in one more new face. He’s made no secret of the fact he wants to bring in some support for Matt Green, so we’ll be seeing a new centre forward before the start of February.

Rather interestingly Danny is quoted as saying; “We would still like to bring one more in if we could. Again, it’s got to be the right player. We’ve identified the ones we like, it’s just a case of seeing if it’s financially viable.”

Now, that financially viable statement is crucial because it does point in a certain direction for recruitment. There’s no secret that a large portion of the January budget will have been gobbled up by Lee Frecklington and James Wilson, both are League One quality players that will command good wages. In the transfer of Freck there was an undisclosed fee paid I believe too, not a substantial amount but it all adds up.

However, a striker is bound to be a financial burden, football is a goal scoring business and forwards are the men who deliver the goals. If you want a good player, you have to pay and Danny is clearly balancing value for money against need. There’s several names in the frame, but here are the three I believe are most likely to appear in a Lincoln shirt before the end of the season. I’m not reinventing the wheel here by the way, these are names you’ve seen a hundred times before, but each is as likely as the other.

Lyle Taylor

I wrote about Lyle earlier in the week, he’s the long-shot that would really set pulses racing. He’s been the star of AFC Wimbledon’s season so far, in truth he’s been the main man there for almost two years. Up until recently we would never have been linked with a player of his status, but the Cowley revolution has taught us to expect the unexpected and aim high.

So, why is Taylor being linked with us? He’s scores in the division above and is being tracked by a host of other sides, notably Bradford City. He does have a link here though, he played for Danny at Concord Rangers after his release by Millwall. Danny knows his personality and his traits and clearly would love to bring him to Sincil Bank.

Taylor is out of contract in the summer too and could move on for free. Wimbledon might be the league above but in terms of finances they’re on our level. They might not want to move their star striker on in the midst of a relegation battle, but also they might want to cash in on him before he walks away for nothing. They also signed Joe Piggot from Maidstone in this window, maybe paving the way for a move? They’ve also been heavily linked with a move for Carlton Cole.

Make no mistake, Taylor would be a coup of Bostwick and Frecklington magnitude. He’s mobile, direct and plays with that air of cockiness all the best strikers have. He tore us apart for the first twenty minutes of the FA Cup tie in November, only when he went off did we get any respite. He knocked us out of the competition with his well-taken goal, how ironic would it be if he later joined the fight for promotion?

Likeliness: Despite everything, I’m rating this one as no more than ‘possible’. As I’ve said, we’ve been taught to expect the unexpected, but also we must not take the unexpected to be the new normality. Lyle Taylor would be a huge signing for Lincoln City, but there will be other clubs, bigger clubs, of which the same could be said.

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Ricky Miller

Already I can hear the groans from the back. Pipe down! Look, we’ve heard all about Miller again, just as we did last ear and just as we did throughout the summer. He’s a goal scorer, a tainted genius who has scored goals for fun in the non-league but twice now has failed to make the grade in the Football League. He’s a bad boy, one who needs close managing, a little bit of loving and a whole lot of man managing.

Peterborough want to sell, there’s no doubt of that. Darragh McAnthony has already spoken of interest from other clubs, but the big stumbling block is their rumoured price tag. If you want to sign Ricky Miller right now, you’ll need £200k to do so. He might get goals but believe me, he ain’t worth £200k of our money, yet. Playing to his full potential, maybe he is worth that, but he’s had six goal-shy months during which he’s slipped out of their team and assaulted a copper for good measure. He’s a risk, a gamble which might be worth £50k, but no side in their right mind will fork out £200k, including Steve Evans. Cambridge were interested but they’ve signed Billy Waters instead. The price tag has frightened off every side that might have been an option.

So that rules him out of a move, right? Wrong. It delays a move, nothing more. The important thing to remember here is that we are talking about Barry Fry, a wheeler-dealer of Del Boy proportions who could talk up the price of a soggy salad if you gave him the chance. He might be making his ridiculous demands right now, but as the window edges shut, that is going to change. Barry is a dealer and if you’ve ever been to a market, you’ll know that as the day draws to a close, prices drop. By the time the cars are pulling out of the car park, you can pick up a real bargain and that is what is going to happen to Miller. He’ll move, I have no doubt about that, and it won’t be for £200k either. He’ll maybe go out on loan with a view to a permanent move, that way he might impress somewhere and inflate his value again, but he’ll have a side to play for at the beginning of February. Whether that is us depends on Danny’s patience and whether he’s willing to risk our play-off race on Fry’s unpredictable deadline day dealings. With rumours of Barnet chasing the striker, could it be we’re once again waiting on deadline day, either for Miller or for my next target to be freed up?

Likeliness: You know what, I still have this down as very possible. In a conversation with Danny he once said to me ‘Ricky Miller is the man’ when talking about strikers. It was last season in the National League, but form is temporary and all that. We’ve done business with Posh before too, look at Bozzie and Anderson. I think we have a good relationship with them, their chairman has stated he believes Danny would love Miller if the price was right. It all depends on whether Fry gets up in a good mood on the last day of the window.

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Simeon Akinola

I know there are fans out there who would find this underwhelming, but not me. Simeon (pictured top) isn’t even in the Barnet squad at the moment and for some, that indicates he wouldn’t add to our side. That theory is wrong, he would be a super addition to our cause and August proved it. Danny wanted him then and if Danny wants a player, nine times out of ten that player will add to our squad. Disregarding loans, how many permanent moves has Danny made for a player which haven’t worked out? Billy Knott, very few others. even Adam Marriott was a success despite moving on. No, if Danny brings someone here on a fulltime contract then I’m sold on them adding lots of value to the side.

Simeon is another pacey worker, a player who can be involved in a turnover and join the later phase of play too. You know I love Rheady, but at times his lack of pace leaves us wanting. I’ve come to realise there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to our attack, some games Rheady thrives and others we need a more mobile option. When you watched the big man against Port Vale or Yeovil you saw a masterclass in centre-forward play, but against Notts County I felt a more mobile partner for Matt Green would have worked better, if you needed evidence of that look how many chances we created when Ollie Palmer came on. Palmer isn’t the answer from the start unfortunately, but Simeon Akinola could be. Akinola is mobile, he’s strong and he’s a willing runner. He knows Danny already, he knows our methods and crucially, he wants to play for Lincoln City. His Barnet move has turned sour and after the debacle in the summer he’s had a taste of what we’re about. He wouldn’t be put off by a lack of training ground, not one bit. He wants to be here because of Danny, Nicky and because he’s already had a taste of what we’re about.

Likeliness: I still think this is the one that is most likely to happen. I may be wrong, but my gut feeling is it would already have happened if we didn’t play Barnet this weekend. Their change in manager might put a spanner in the works, that remains to be seen, but if that manager wants to bring in some of his own personnel then it could be beneficial to move Simeon on swiftly, certainly once we’ve faced each other. Danny won’t want to be kept waiting though, having fallen foul of that once we won’t be bringing him in on deadline day. No, if he’s moving I expect it to happen next week, once we’ve played in North London.

They’re my three picks, still the most likely candidates for a City move. Of the three, which would you prefer to see join the club? Vote below, if you want. Don’t feel pressured though, you know me. Easy come, easy go and all that.

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