Two more former Lincoln City players have been released by their parent club this afternoon.
Ipswich Town have announced that Danny Rowe and Jordan Roberts have both been told the option on their contracts is not being taken up at this moment in time; the club has not shut the door on either returning. The current world crisis has meant it is hard for clubs to make serious decisions on the long-term future of some of their stars, with Rowe and Roberts both paying the price.
Roberts is a player unlikely to get pulses racing if he were linked with us, which I must stress he isn’t. Neither player is being linked with a return here, nor am I suggesting they should be before anyone gets angry. This is a news piece, just to clear that up! Anyway, Roberts, who joined on loan last season, didn’t set the world on fire at the Bank after making a debut in our 3-3 draw with Bury. He did have an impressive spell with Gillingham earlier in the season though, scoring twice in ten matches and acting as a partner for John Akinde as Steve Evans’ side climbed towards the top seven.
Rowe is far more popular here at the Bank; we even sponsored his kit during his first spell at the club. He came in as we pushed on towards a play-off place in 2018 and was the first Lincoln player I interviewed for the club programme. He made his debut in the 2-2 draw with Notts County which also saw Lee Frecklington back in an Imps shirt, then opened his account a week or two later as we beat a strong Peterborough side in the EFL Trophy. He looked capable of firing us to a top-three spot, bagging a sensational strike against Exeter a week prior to lifting the Checkatrade Trophy, but he bowed out injured as we lost 1-0 at Port Vale in April. City wound up seventh, losing to Exeter in the play-offs with Rowe a spectator.
“There were quite a few factors last time I was at the club why I didn’t show my best form,” he told me in an interview in 2019. “I had issues with fitness and injuries so I felt like I never got going. When I did, towards the end of my spell, it was unfortunate that I picked up the bad injury and had a couple of months out.”
He was back again last season, appearing four times for Ipswich as they were relegated from the Championship before securing another loan deal with Danny Cowley. He starred as we beat Grimsby 1-0, being fouled as James McKeown was sent off, before netting twice at Yeovil in a game we needed to win to pull away at the top. He bagged in the 3-3 draw with Bury in which Roberts made his debut too.
“It feels really good to be back at the club, I feel I’ve started off really well,” he said after his heroics against Bury. “Recent results might have been draws but we’re working on turning those into wins now so hopefully we can push on towards the end of the season.”
“It was great to get off to a good start and grab a couple of goals. Danny and Nicky had a chat with me when I first came back about playing a more central role in the ten. First few games that I played brought a couple of goals and hopefully as the season goes on, I can keep getting in there and add a couple more.”
He did add more, one more, bagging as we beat Oldham 2-0 during Paul Scholes ill-fated spell in charge of the Latics. In the end, he helped us to the title and earned a second medal in as many years with the club.
This season, he’s played 18 times for Ipswich, scoring once as they beat Rochdale 1-0. He came on for them as we drew 1-1 in the FA Cup First Round too, albeit for six minutes, but is now free to find a new club after Ipswich’s news. For out of contract players, it promises to be a challenging time as they are unlikely to find new clubs whilst uncertainty rages over the future of football.
Whilst we wish both players well, Danny, in particular, we hope to see secure his future somewhere. Personally, I interviewed him twice and found him to be a typical, no-nonsense Wythenshawe lad, not unlike Michale Appleton in his frank Mancunian approach. On the field, he always threatened to be better than he was, held back perhaps a little by injuries that might have been a factor in his Ipswich release.