Zack Elbouzedi has left Sincil bank this afternoon, joining Bolton Wanderers on loan for the rest of the season.
The 22-year-old won his second Man of the Match award of the season this week with a scintillating display against Accrington in the EFL Trophy, but his chances have been limited throughout the campaign. Playing on the left side of attack, Zack has had to contend with competition from the likes of Anthony Scully, Brennan Johnson and Theo Archibald, as well as new signing Morgan Rogers. That has led the club to seek football for him elsewhere and to be fair there are no bigger clubs than Bolton in League Two.
Zack signed for the club a little over a year ago, becoming Michael’s first signing after taking over as manager. He appeared five times in League One for us during his first six months, the last of which was his first start, away at Southend. That game didn’t go well for anyone, and Zack found himself out of the side after being hauled off at half time.
This season, he’s done well when given his chances. he looked strong in the pre-season matches and got his first start of the campaign in the EFL Trophy against Scunthorpe. He’s had to be patient since, coming off the bench against Forest Green in the FA Cup, before impressing against Shrewsbury, again in the EFL Trophy. Sadly for Zack, that only led to two more League One outings, a brief cameo late on against Northampton and 15 minutes at home against Burton.
Thus far, Zack has made 11 outings for the Imps, with three starts, scoring twice. However, this move is not the same as us finding a club for Aaron Lewis – Zack signed a ‘long-term’ deal with us when he arrived from Waterford, and it is likely that his loan spell is an attempt to give him the senior football, he needs to kick on as a player and stake a claim in our first-team squad next season. I did mention in a recent look at players incoming and outgoing that I felt Zack might be primed for a loan departure, and I think in terms of his development, this could be a really good move.
The two departures, and the Aaron Lewis situation, do suggest we may be on the verge of bringing a player in, but like Robbie Gotts, I wouldn’t expect a direct, like-for-like replacement for Zack. In terms of the squad, our attacking options are still impressive, certainly out wide, and I would imagine that these departures are about freeing up budget for a more targeted incoming player, possibly at full-back.
Obviously, we wish Zack all the best in his loan spell and hope to see him back at the Bank, leaving defenders for dead, next season.