Two players that helped us to the League Two title back in 2018/19 have found new clubs this week, and both have been widely praised for their time with us.
Midfielder Tom Pett has joined Ben Coker at Stevenage, the club he left to sign for us back in January 2018. The 28-year-old, who seems to be a dab hand at FIFA as well, made 65 appearances in all competitions for us, 38 of those starts in the Football League. The bulk of his football came during the title-winning season, where he played 51 times and scored four goals.
Pett also scored the goal that set us up for a play-off semi-final date with Exeter City, bagging against Yeovil on the final day of the previous season. Unfortunately, he started the 2019/20 season with an injury and struggled to impress Michael Appleton on his return to the squad. Pett, who arrived as a winger but proved to be more effective in the centre of midfield, won Lincoln fans over as an approachable and personable character with a great work ethic on the field.
In terms of his move, Stevenage does seem like a good fit for him. It’s closer to home, and he knows the club and the level very well. I did question where he might end up after leaving us; a League One move looked unlikely as there were few clubs geographically that might fit his preference, but the National League would be a step too far down for a cultured ball-playing midfielder such as himself. Stevenage s a great fit, he already has a reputation there and it is a level at which he is comfortably able to compete in a top ten side.
The other former Imp to find a new club is stopper Josh Vickers. This is an interesting move, because Josh has joined Rotherham United in the Championship, The already have Viktor Johansson and Jamal Blackman in the squad, so Vickers is going there almost certainly as competition for the reserve spot, but it is a great move for him. It is hard to think that he is still only 24, given that he joined us in June 2017 after we were promoted to the Football League. The former Swansea youth played 78 times for us and often found himself hit by injuries, which kept him out of our EFL trophy victory. Indeed, he didn’t appear for us between January and August 2018, and he only appeared 21 times during our title-winning season, missing chunks of autumn and four months at the turn of the year.
Last season was his most prolific, turning out 37 times as we remained in League One, and he didn’t look out of place one bit. His save at Rotherham in the opening fixture was nominated for save of the season at the FSA Awards in London, and whilst we did leak goals, he was generally competent and composed (forget Sunderland away). Sadly, as a result of the pandemic, he wasn’t offered a new deal, even as a backup, and he looked to be having a spell out of the game.
With much of his career ahead of him, he is in a great place to get some coaching under his belt, maybe turn out a bit when he can and develop as a keeper. He will also link up with former Imps coach Andy Warrington, which will ensure some consistency and familiarity for him as he looks to force his way into the first-team picture there. In terms of mentality, he has had plenty of blows with injuries and is young enough to shrug those off and go on the to be a decent keeper in the second tier.
Best of luck to both players, I’ll be checking their progress just as I do a number of former Imps.