Imps ‘lead the race’ for 24-year-old midfielder

You wait all summer for transfer news and suddenly, you get two lots back to back.

Yesterday, Alan Nixon reported we were looking at three players, with Cheshire Live adding a fourth name to that list this morning; Crewe Alexandra midfielder James Jones. Jones is a Scottish central midfielder and he’s a little older than some of the other target we have been linked with. He’s 24-years-old and in August 2017 he was close to a £300,000 move to Preston North End, but that was curtailed through injury. Indeed, injury seems to have blighted his time at Crewe, but he has still turned in some impressive stats.

He bagged ten league goals from central midfield in the 2016/17 season, and in total has 185 outings for David Artell’s side, including two seasons as a youngster in League One. Last season, he added two goals and two assists to their charge towards promotion and he was offered a new deal when the Railwaymen were confirmed as being promoted. However, he looks set to turn down that deal and join us, with Gillingham also in the hunt but reportedly unlikely to snatch him at last minute.

Jones is a former Scotland Under 19 and Under 21 star who would not command a fee as he is now over the age of 24. It would be a big blow to Crewe to lose him after he has come through their youth system, but it would also be a coup for us to secure his services. If he is able to steer clear of injuries, he is exactly the sort of player we want in the door; plenty of senior experience, some at this level and with potential to move forward in his career and maybe bag a bigger move quickly. Jones is a cross between potential and experience, someone who we might not have to wait two years to see develop.

After scoring in a 2-1 win against Oldham earlier this season, Jones gave a little insight into his favoured position after waiting for a chance at Gresty Road.

“It’s been a case of biding my time, working hard and waiting for my chance,” he said.

“I know I am capable, and hopefully I’ve taken my chance. It was a bit of a scruffy goal but I’ll take it, and know playing that higher role I can get into the box and get chances. It was a good feeling.”

Usually, if a local paper reports a story like this, it is based on some facts and that makes me think we could be close to this deal. I like the sound of Jones, he hasn’t stood out for me in our clashes with them but his record is decent and he fits the bill. It is hard to judge any player we haven’t see and even one with a record behind him could change in our system, or with a move, but I feel this is more along the lines of the type of player fans will be happy to see linked.