Whilst there is a lack of rumour and conjecture around new players at the moment, there is plenty happening around the club.
I thought it might be nice to bring all the latest news and fact into one article, to give you a handy guide to exactly where the Imps are right now in terms of contracts, incoming players and the like. Welcome to our Imps transfer roundup!
First of all, with Robbie Gotts leaving the club, some have suggested it might lead to Aaron Lewis being given a chance in the first-team squad. Last week, Michael ruled out a return for the Wales Under 21 international, and he has reiterated that today, speaking to local media. “Aaron needs to move on and get games,” he said. “The one thing that has happened with Aaron is that the standard of the group has gone up 10-fold in the last 12 months. He needs to kick on and get some games. The only way he’s going to do that is by staying fit and focused. He’s probably lacked a bit of that over the last six months.” I find the last comment very interesting – MA seems to think Aaron has lacked ‘fitness and focus’ by the sounds of things. So, even with the squad looking light and even with us having one dedicated right back, the door is not opening once more for Aaron Lewis and we shouldn’t expect to see him in a Lincoln shirt again.
On one of my weekly chats with my mate Pete, we covered the potential right-back situation, and how I felt we might bring a possible permanent signing forward to give them time to settle. Pete suggested we might go with the TJ strategy, bring a player in on loan who may not play, but who also may come back next season once he knows the group. It’s an interesting one, because we may change our summer plans if we were to go up to the Championship (feels ridiculous even writing that), so perhaps the loan deal does seem more plausible. Well, in the same interview with local media, MA has suggested he might go down the loan route. “We did it last year with TJ. He came in and didn’t really get an opportunity because of Covid and a few other things,” said the Imps boss. “But if we can get a bit of cover in that position, it would give us a bit of balance.” That hints at maybe using the spare loan space created by Gotts’ departure to fill in the gap left by Robbie’s departure. Certainly, with uncertainty over which division we may be playing in, it might be a safer bet to go temporary and leave any permanent commitments until the summer.
It seems there will be no winter move for Jorge Grant, which many have been predicting. Michael suggested in another local media interview that Jorge was still locked in contract talks, which he expected to be concluded one way or the other by the end of the month. They are ongoing and doubtless cannot be rushed, but the chance of him leaving before then is non-existent. He said it was ‘absolutely definite’ that our vice-captain would not be leaving this window, meaning even if he were to turn down a new contract, he would still be with us for our promotion challenge.
That got me thinking about other contracts, and who we might feasibly have to chat to over the winter window. Referring to popular website transfermrkt, it seems that Jorge and Harry Anderson are not the only two who we will be making a decision on. Some of the names on there are speculative – Joe Walsh is listed as having a contract which expires this season, but when he signed there was no mention of contract length, the same going for Liam Bridcutt. We do know Remy Howarth is out of contract at the end of the season, as is Ethan Ross, but there is another first-team player that we know is without a deal for next season – Anthony Scully. The nine-goal striker signed an 18-month deal at the end of the window in 2020, meaning he is without a deal for next season. It is unclear if his future is currently up for discussion, but personally, I feel he is a player we also ought to be tying down. I do wonder if perhaps there is a year option with Scully, as he seems like the sort of player we might have given a somewhat open-ended deal.
We know of Robbie Gotts immediately joining Salford City, and of Sam Habergham being given the chance to rebuild his career with the Cods, but this window has seen one other Imp on the move – Neal Eardley. The right-back only left the Imps for Burton in the summer, but after nine league starts for the Brewers, he is on the move. He’s joined League Two side Barrow on loan, playing the full 90 minutes as they beat Scunthorpe 1-0 this weekend.