The Imps have today finally landed Callum Morton and Alex Palmer from West Brom on one-year loan deals.
As has been rumoured for weeks, the exciting duo joins up with the squad for the forthcoming season, giving us a more rounded feel as we approach the first competitive match of the season tomorrow. Along with new recruit Ramirez Howarth, they make up a squad of 23, with two expected to go out on loan before the season kicks off.
The capture of the West Brom duo is something of a coup for the Imps. Callum Morton was allegedly wanted by Championship clubs, but a combination of Michael’s relationship with West Brom and the likelihood of first-team football has seen him signed for us. 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.
It is believed the striker has just signed a new, four-year deal with the Baggies and is regarded as a first-team player of the future. It is also unlikely he would be recalled in January, a problem we had last season with Walker. West Brom are highly unlikely to drag him back to play in the first team in the Premier League, meaning he is likely to be here for the season, even if he is on 14 goals by New Year.
I’ve watched all of Morton’s goals from last season and he’s a poacher, that’s for sure. One or two were from horrible defending (see his first against Cheltenham in the play-off semi-final), whilst others have been instictive finishes when the ball breaks in the box. I’ve included the highlights from Northampton v Walsall last season here, because he particularly impresses me. he scores twice, could have had one before his opener and basically ran the Saddlers ragged. Watch his first goal though, he breaks in the middle, lays the ball out wide and is back in position to score by the time the cross come in. His run timing is perfect too, he checks slightly at the end to make sure he is in the right place at the right time to notch an opener. Exciting signing.
Alex Palmer might be a loan from a Premier League club, but he isn’t a wet-behind-the-ears academy graduate with little first-team experience. The 24-year-old spent last season on loan with Plymouth Argyle, playing 37 times and earning rave reviews for his time there. His efforts helped them to promotion from League Two and he was rewarded on his return to the Hawthorns with a new contract. When he penned his new, three-year deal, West Brom’s technical director Luke Dowling said: “He’s gone away into a tough environment and finished up a promotion winner; that is an invaluable experience for a young player learning the realities of the game,
“Now we’ll sit down with him in the summer and discuss the next phase of his development, whether that be here or perhaps with another loan.”
He was certainly of interest to Ryan Lowe, the Plymouth boss. He tipped Palmer to be around the West Brom first team next season, adding: “If he goes out on loan again, would he bypass Plymouth Argyle? Probably, yeah. Could he go to the Championship? Yeah, 100 per cent. But if the option arose, and he wanted to come back then we would certainly look at it.”
Well, he hasn’t gone to the Championship, he’s come to Lincoln City, and finally, for the first time since the summer, we have two keepers on our books. Ethan Ross has looked competent over the summer months, but Palmer is sure to be the number one when we kick off against Oxford next weekend.
Again, I’ve been watching clips of his performances last season, and a couple of games stood out. Plymouth drew 1-1 with Macclesfield in the league and Palmer made four saves in the first 25 minutes, two of which are on the highlights below. He likes to make himself big in one-on-ones and is as adept at stopping efforts with his legs as he is his hands. He’s a big stopper for sure and one likely to show a strong command of his area, as well as bringing good shot-stopping technique to the table.
The moves mean the Imps’ first-team squad for the 2020/21 season looks a little something like this: