I’ve taken a look at free agents in League Two and League One, it is time to turn our attention to the Championship.
There is a difficulty with the Championship, many of those who are out of contract may be unwilling to drop down to League Two. There are a lot of players I’d love to see who aren’t signed up for next season yet, but the truth is many at this level wouldn’t happen. QPR full back Jack Robinson is a fine player, but he wouldn’t sign for Lincoln City.
When combing the second-tier for players I’ve tried to bear in mind the sort of player we might have a chance of signing, so as to not come up with ridiculously ambitious targets. So, lets start with an ambitious target, shall we?
Any Imps fan worth their salt will know who Jack Hobbs is, currently the youngest player to ever represent the Imps. He made his league debut on 15th August 2005 against Bristol Rovers, as a last-minute substitute for Matt Bloomer. At 16 years and 149 days, he became the club’s youngest ever player, breaking a record that was previously held by Shane Nicholson. He moved to Liverpool and has since played for Hull City, Scunthorpe and Leicester.
He’s still only 29-years old and has been with Nottingham Forest for the past five seasons, but despite being captain for a portion of those he is now facing an uncertain future. A back injury ruled him out of most of this season and he’s unlikely to remain with Forest.
Jack still has a lot to offer and is a superb centre back, but would he consider himself to have unfinished business at Lincoln? He’s seen Lee Frecklington come back, could Jack feel he too has something to prove having only played a short time for the side he emerged with?
One thing working against us with this deal is having Wilson, Waterfall and Bostwick in the centre back role. We moved Callum Howe on because of a lack of game time, would Jack Hobbs walk into the side? If so, would it be our captain, Luke Waterfall, who made way?
23-year old Graham has played 29 competitive matches in his career, a small amount for a player with such huge potential. He was an Aston Villa youth but has recently been on the books of Wolves. He spent three matches on loan with Fulham earlier this season, but hasn’t managed to find his niche in the top half of the Championship. He’s set to be released this summer, but the line of potential suitors will go twice around Molineux.
The winger played England U16 and U17 and developed a reputation as a tricky and skilful player with explosive pace. A cruciate ligament injury put his progress on hold, but he will now be looking for the place he can thrive. Danny and Nicky have proven they deal well with previously injured players, look at Neal Eardley.
On paper, this might not look like an attractive signing, but in reality he is probably the most ambitious you’ll read on this list. He was the bright young thing of the West Midlands and his trickery and flair is still evident. If Fulham wanted him on loan this season it shows his massive potential. His injury record might mean a League One club put in a serious offer, but he is one that could certainly add value at Sincil Bank.
This may be going back over old ground, Danny had a look at Chesmain last summer and opted not to go for him. He’s also a left back but one that hasn’t made the grade at Millwall. This season he’s been plying his trade on loan at Boreham Wood, but is likely to find himself available on a free transfer shortly.
I know Danny didn’t take him in the summer, but what if the player has developed enough now to be worth a second look? Back then we needed a full back for the start of the season with Sam’s injury, but this time around it isn’t as pertinent to bring a fully polished player in. Maybe Chesmain, on a short contract, could provide adequate cover and competition without us committing too much of the budget?
He’s also looked after by Unique Sports Management, the same agents who have Harry Anderson on their books. The link may be tenuous, but if we’re sticking with Sam as number three next season Chesmain could well be a good reserve option.