A one-time Lincoln City reject looks almost certainly bound for a big move this summer, yet another step up the ladder for him after being cast off by the Imps.
Jon Nolan will line up against the Imps for Shrewsbury next weekend in the Checkatrade Trophy Final, but his journey since departing the club has been sharply contrasting to what we expected as fans. as he sullen packed up his things after a failed loan at Wrexham, many thought he would surface at Stockport or some other National League North side where his delicate touch and questionable work rate would see him disappear altogether.
Instead he wound up at Grimsby, a side that was able to coax the wonderfully gifted footballer form his shell a little. His influence earned them promotion via the play offs and pretty quickly, he ditched them for Chesterfield. When the Spireites came down at the end of last season, he moved to Shrewsbury where he’s thrived in a ball-playing side.
Now, he’s being chased by a host of clubs including Leeds United, Sunderland and Norwich, all of them desperate to add the cultured midfielder to their ranks in the summer. Whilst it may come as a surprise to some, one of the very first blogs I ever did was reminding fans what a wonderful footballer Nolan can be, if only he sorted his attitude out.
Speaking to the Derbyshire Times prior to his Shrewsbury move, he admitted his failings: “I knew I’ve always had the ability but maybe my attitude wasn’t what it should have been,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t have admitted that back in the day, but I think I can now.”
Whilst some will look on frustrated that we let a quality footballer slip through our fingers, this isn’t another Sam Clucas error of judgement. At the time, we were entirely correct to let Nolan go, despite his blatant talent he was often found wanting in games and didn’t seem to have the spirit for a fight. A small part of me is pleased he’s found a way to excel in the upper echelons of League One, the other half of me is still full of resent at how he manufactured the move to Wrexham and how he sullenly scowled his way through his Imps career.
I just hope he has a face on next Sunday and scowls his way through the EFL Trophy final without having too much impact. I can imagine that a nice early tackle from Michael Bostwick might be enough to throw him off his stride, especially if he thinks Leeds United are watching.