Whilst I appreciate my report on last night’s game wasn’t as enthusiastic as you might have hoped for, I had nothing to say about the Imps performance as it was largely irrelevant.
Once the trial players entered the field it became tough to watch, just because we were trying to watch a game, whereas Danny was watching individuals, knowing in his own mind who they all were and what they needed to do.
After the game it was said that two of the players were Adam Crookes and Toby Edser, Nottingham Forest youngsters who were on trial with view to a loan move. Last season we had two Norwich City youngsters play against Lincoln United, neither of which ended up signing a deal, so maybe there’s not too much to read into things at this stage.
Or, maybe there is. The fact their names have been released suggests that we have an option on them for the coming season because, lets face it, nobody was going to recognise them unless they intimate knowledge of the Forest U23 set up. Although we wouldn’t know them right now, there’s every chance one of them could be much better known next season.
The name of Toby Edser reminded me of a chat I’d had with a Forest fan last year. I wanted to do a piece on the next big thing at Forest and although I didn’t get it done, he mentioned Edser to me. Forest signed him from Charlton, but he’s also been at Fulham and the City Ground staff have high hopes for him.
He’s an attacking midfielder, described on Forest’s website as having “intelligence on the ball which allows him to dictate play wherever he is on the field.” Does that not sound a bit like Jorge Grant, the Forest loan player who helped Notts County to last season’s play offs?
If you dig a little (well, type Edser into Google) you’ll find the comparison is not being made here for the first time. As far back as October last year, Edser was being linked with a loan move following a succession of impressive displays for the U23 side at Forest. He’s captained them, but spoke of wanting a loan move if the chance arose.
“You go out into the real world, you play men’s football in front of crowds; it’s not going to do you any harm,” he told the report linked in the paragraph above. On last night’s brief showing, he could certainly bring us something as well as benefitting from playing men’s football.
Edser was described as a ‘star to come’ when he signed a new long-term deal last summer and is still considered as one player likely to break through into the first team. Whilst Tyler Walker is the big-name loan move in our division, it might be his lesser-known team-mate who impresses the most, especially as it is that creative midfield role we might need a bit of cover in next season. The loan player who sneaks in under the radar might just be one of the most important signings of a packed summer.
He’s even made the Forest first team bench a couple of times, but clearly Aitor Karanka is keen to have him get first team football next season. Competition for places will be massive at City, but his quality would surely see him knocking on the door.
Whilst Jorge Grant and Ryan Yates have both proven that the Forest Academy is a great place to start a career, our own experiences with their players is just as good. John Finnigan came from Forest and cemented himself as one of the better midfielders to ply his trade at City. Paul Smith divided opinion on the flanks for Keith Alexander’s side of 2002/303, but his impact wasn’t ever in question as he weighed in with goals and a few assists.
Since then we’ve not benefitted from the big boys on our doorstep, but if Edser does end up sealing a loan move we might just be about to continue polishing the diamond that Forest have kept locked away for a long as they can.
As for Adam Crookes, the other trial player, he spent time last season on loan at Guiseley and can play at the back or in midfield. He maybe didn’t catch the eye as much as Edser, but both will have a certain quality that could add to our squad, especially as we haven’t dipped our toe in the loan market as yet. With between two and four new loan players expected, it could be an exciting time for fans over the coming weeks.