Manager Michael Appleton gave an update to BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Michael Hortin this weekend on the excellent Hope and Glory podcast (that’s the one with no swearing and a good level of knowledge).
It’s a great listen and I fully advise you go and see for yourself. I had it on whilst playing with myself (pool) yesterday afternoon. In it, amongst other things, Michael Appleton talks about the possible transfer business still to be conducted by the side.
One player he covered was Cian Bolger, a player it sounds as though will be used sporadically this season, if at all. I’m not going to quote ad verbatim from the podcast as you should go and listen, but essentially Michael has said he wouldn’t stand in Cian’s way if another club came in with a decent offer, nor is he trying to force Cian out of the club. It’s tough for Cian, I’ve spoken to him a couple of times and he’s a nice chap, very down to earth and friendly, but his role at the club looks likely to be diminished, which is saying something. He has been used sparingly over the past couple of seasons, often overlooked when Shackell and Bostwick were fit.
It’s a tough situation for Cian, MA isn’t saying he can’t pass a ball, but he did suggest that its a case of Cian not being the type of player that fits the direction of the club. That’s playing out from the back, so it isn’t a huge leap to reach the conclusion that it is distribution that is going to limit Cian’s playing time. The comments suggest to be a four at the back is the favoured option now, leaving us heavy on centre-halves. What I would say is that with games coming Saturday/Tuesday throughout the season, we might need some cover and Cian Bolger is very much a League One defender. I shouted him as an outside bet for Player of the Year last season, for his consistency and his willingness to drop in and out of the team and never show any lack of interest. Sure, you’d think that’s a pre-requisite for a player, but can we honestly say all players give 110% when they’re on the fringes? Plenty of people felt Akinde didn’t, for instance. Cian was never seen wanting for desire.
Of course, the player could choose to stay and fight for his place. He hasn’t been told he’s not wanted (as it was suggested a handful were in January) and MA has praised Cian’s attitude and character around the place. There is plenty left to work with there, but I guess much will depend on Cian. As I understood it, he moved his girlfriend over from Ireland and bought a house here, so a move might have to be to a club within commutable distance. Plus, there are the ‘old money’ wages that people keep talking about; could some clubs afford to take him from us? Hull City were thought to be interested two years ago, perhaps there might be an outlet there, or somewhere like Doncaster Rovers. If someone does take him, they’ll be getting the sort of player fans love to see. I’m not sure him leaving is so cut and dried right now though, certainly not as widely expected as, say, Jack Payne.
MA also alluded to there being four more signings in the pipeline in a question led by Michael Hortin. I suspect MH has a good inclination of who might be coming in and he led an open question to MA suggesting two more permanent signings and two more loan signings too. With MA’s strengths being focused very much on the training ground, one would expect him to want this business conducted relatively quickly. I wonder if we might see a couple of attacking players coming in, almost certainly I’d expect one through the centre to back up Hopper, and maybe one or two out wide to add pace and athleticism to the wings. However, as with Tyreece John-Jules, I wouldn’t be surprised if one player fitted two criteria. Of course, there’s going to be a keeper coming in too and perhaps a ten. That would seem to fill up the expected incomings, we do look strong at the back and in the midfield area, but light in the goal-getting department.
In terms of timescales, I have no idea at all, I rarely speak to people at the club at the moment and am not the sort to badger MA even though he said to call anytime. There is no rush to get bodies in, not really, if we kicked off tomorrow we’d put a decent squad of 16 out, but we need depth to cope with the schedule and certainly additional attacking options. Once we do get four bodies through the door there is always the latter stages of the window to consider where there might be bargains aplenty, so we’re in a good position right now.
That goes for Cian Bolger too, who might well have a fight on his hands, but who strikes me as a fighter and therefore I’m sure will relish whatever is ahead, be it a move and a fight to prove MA wrong, or staying put and scrapping for a first-team place.