Alex Bradley arrives – a watershed signing for the Imps?

Danny Cowley has unveiled another new signing this summer and, like the three before him, he’s a central midfielder.

Alex Bradley was released by West Brom at the end of last season having been out on loan with Havant and Waterlooville as well as Burton Albion. I’m kicking myself, I’d covered his move to Burton falling through at the beginning of the summer for FLW and didn’t connect the dots when I heard we’d got a blond lad called Alex on trial.

Burton saw enough of him last season to convince them he was worth a deal, but they offered him a wage that wasn’t acceptable at all, according to the Worcester News. That left him at a loose end this summer, but in his brief spell with the Imps he’s impressed Danny.

Here’s the catch; we don’t need another central midfielder. What we do need, without a doubt, is a bigger squad and Bradley will form part of that squad, even if he’s out on loan for most of the time. 

“Alex has come in from the beginning of pre-season and done really well. He’s got an infectious attitude and work ethic,” Danny told the club’s official site.

“It wasn’t a position we were particularly looking to add to, but he’s come in and really affected us. The plan is to try and create a pathway like we do with all of our young players, because in the future he could do very well for us.”

That’s going to mean a loan spell, just like Joan Luque last season. Unlike Luque, Bradley is surely going to end up with a League Two side, if not then one of the leading National League clubs. He played League One football last season and did very well in his brief outings.

Why do I think this is a watershed moment? Because it’s the first signing I can see that Danny has made where he has admitted it’s one for the future. We’re growing as a club and that’s soon going to mean things like Under 23 football, certainly bigger squads and speculating on that whole player trading angle. We have to bring players in who won’t necessarily be around the first team, but who do have the attitude, attributes and potential to either impact us at a later date, or earn some coin with a move.

Bradley did well for Nigel Clough last season, albeit across seven matches, four of which were late cameos. To justify my subscription to Wyscout, my favourite waste of valuable time, I put a graphic together outlining his stats last season, not including his Havant and Waterlooville stint.

 

Of course, he didn’t have enough time to truly impress, which is why numbers are low. He did score on his longest outing, his final match for the Brewers. That came in a 3-1 defeat against Peterborough United, but it was the moment Nigel Clough decided he wanted the player, despite being impressed by him before he’d even kicked a ball.

In total he played 146 minutes, that’s just over a game and a half, but registered seven shots at goal. Last season he played across the midfielder for the Brewers and Havant, left wing, right wing and through the centre. His passing numbers are good too, not only is his accuracy 78.7%, but his accuracy into the final third is 77.8% and his accuracy with forward passes is 71.4%. That shows a composure on the ball not just in playing it backwards, but with passes that matter.

For now, we might not get to see this impressive 20-year-old in action, but if he goes out and impresses he’ll surely be back around the squad in January.I like everything I’ve seen and read so far; he’s a former Royal Grammar School Worcester pupil which suggests a certain intelligence and he’s played for Finland Under 19s. 

It’s an unconventional background for a young footballer, but one we might reap the rewards from in the coming months.

Now, I wonder what Alex Wollerton is doing right now….

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