It would appear City are close to beating Championship opposition to the signature of exciting striker Callum Morton, as reported by verified West Brom reporter Steve Madeley.
We’ve been linked with Morton, along with Alex Palmer, for a while now, with Michael Appleton confirming his interest in the pair last week. it’s understood the hold up was a new contract for Morton, and for WBA to bring in another keeper to allow Palmer to leave on loan. Whilst they are still searching for a new keeper, it looks like Morton will now pen a four-year deal at the Hawthorns before coming to us on loan.
Torquay-born Morton is 20-years-old and has had two loan spells away from the Hawthorns. His first saw him join Braintree in 2018/19, where he scored five goals in 15 National League matches. He then moved to Keith Curle’s Northampton Town on loan, where he helped them seal promotion in an impressive spell, scoring eight times in just 12 outings.
When quizzed last week on Morton, Michael Appleton said: “Again it would be hard to say no. I think there’s going to be numerous clubs as well, similar to Alex where they’re going to try to acquire their services. Hopefully my relationship with West Brom and knowing the players personally will give us a decent opportunity to try and get them.”
It appears that the relationship has now proved fruitful, with the respected journalist breaking news of his arrival here. Sun journalist Alan Nixon had confirmed ‘bigger’ clubs were in the hunt for Morton, and it is thought Northampton would also have liked him, but the promise of regular football, as well as the trust Michael has with West Brom, could have put us at the head of the queue.
Much of Morton’s promise is built on that 12 game spell for Northampton, playing off a big target man in Vadaine Oliver. However, his movement and awareness could suit playing on the right of a 4-3-3 as well, a position I think is up for grabs after the pre-season friendlies. he might even slot in as a ten behind Tom Hopper, pushing forward when we’re on the attack to ensure we have support in the box. I think Tom is a player who likes to come out of the 18-yard area and get involved. When he did that in recent friendlies, it left us short in the area and in Morton, we might just be close to acquiring a player who works well in the system we have.
Plus, he knows where the goal is and that is always a concern for Imps’ fans. Last season we relied heavily on Tyler Walker, whereas this season we’re going to need to have goals from several different players. With Morton impressing in Northampton’s semi-final and final play off victories, he’s proven he can cut it against the very best the division below has to offer. If he does have Championship options, he’s clearly rated by those in the know, so securing him here on a season-long loan could be a coup for City.
Looking at his stats from the Cobblers stay gives me even more confidence. His xG was 0.52 per game, meaning he should average a goal every other game, which he delivered on. he averaged 2.34 shots per game, 50% of which were on target. That is a decent ratio for any striker, and how that transfers to a different style of play is both intriguing and potentially exciting. Our possession-based football creates opportunity around the box, but in friendlies, we’ve lacked a killer touch. With Morton around the area, that possession should yield more goals and as a result, more points too.
More food for thought; Morton got 5.27 touches in the box per game for the Cobblers. During his stay here, Tyler Walker ‘only’ got 3.47 and Matt Rhead averaged just 2.88 per game in the 2016/17 season. Again, whilst those stats are based on different team, styles and opposition, it does demonstrate a willingness to get into good positions by Morton, something that looks to be the missing ingredient from our pre-season campaign.
I’ve cut short watching a new series with Fe to bring this article to you because I believe it to be potentially significant news. Callum Morton is highly-rated and has a track record of scoring goals in senior football. The fact WBA want to give him a four-year deal is a testament to his potential and in turn, to his talent. Along with Alex Palmer, he could be the difference between 20th and 10th.