I actually thought I’d done this last week, I can’t believe it’s been more than a fortnight. So much for a series, it’s more like a monthly at that rate.
If you missed it, we know that the 2019/20 season has been an unprecedented mess, from Bury’s exclusion to Bolton’s kids, from fewer Saturday home games than ever before to an uncertain end. There has been plenty for us to digest though, a roller-coaster season that has seen managers come and go, coaches do the same and more than 30 players make a senior appearance for the Imps.
It’s a feature we usually run at the end of the season and if I keep it up as infrequently as I have it’ll be next season before it is finished! Anyhow, we’ve decided to look at all of those players and assess their impact, our opinion on their situation and whatever else we feel like discussing. After all, once this pandemic has gone, we’ll go back to normal and find a club in transition with a swiftly-evolving playing squad eager to emerge from the shadow of our former managers.
Callum Connolly 15 Appearances, 0 Goals
Callum Connolly won’t be remembered as one of our best loan signings ever, not even as one of the better ones this season, but situation did him a great disservice in my humble opinion. He started really well, sat in front of the defence with Joe Morrell as we beat Fleetwood 2-0, an irony really as that is the club he now plays for. The problem occurred two matches later when Danny left and the youngster’s output dropped.
He stood out as being bad against Oxford, a game watched by our new boss for the first time, and I don’t think he ever got back from that. Due to injury, he managed a couple of matches at centre half and looked half decent, but he was hauled off at half time of our 1-0 defeat against Gillingham and wasn’t seen again.
Dare I say, right player, wrong time. In another team, a settled team, Callum Connolly would be a strong League One player. He’s played 13 times for Fleetwood, a side pushing for promotion, scoring twice. I can’t help but feel him leaving might have been a wasted opportunity.
Conor Coventry 7 Appearances, 0 Goals
Connor Coventry is a player I feel draws parallels with Callum Connolly, not just because of their matching initials. Both have come from top flight clubs where they’re rated, both should tear up this division and for one reason or another, both have had tough periods at Lincoln and have fallen victim to circumstance.
It is odd how perception and reality can be very different. I suspect some fans might link Coventry with our poor form after Christmas, a young player who has taken time to adapt to the hustle and bustle of senior football. Would it surprise you if I told you of the seven games he’s played in, we’ve lost just two, and that only one of those was a game he started? In his five starts, we’ve won two, drawn two and lost one, averaging 1.6 points per game.
He had his best two outings just before the lockdown, looking assured and confident as we drew with Gillingham, before helping the midfield move away from a disorganised Burton side in our 3-2 victory. I’m not sure we’ve seen the best of him yet, I’m not sure we will given the current situation, but if football does resume I’m confident Connor Coventry can continue growing as a senior professional.