The summer is rolling around and as yet, the Imps have not signed a player.
It isn’t wholly surprising. Firstly, we had a three-week wait for the season to end when many clubs did not, which sets us back a bit as we didn’t know which division we would be in. Secondly, we kept much of our squad together, so there is no big rebuild to undertake. The nucleus of the Imps team is there, waiting to be let loose on League One again, so the volume of signings might not be as significant as last time. Finally, we often make late moves, think Brennan Johnson, Alex Palmer, Neal Eardley and Jason Shackell. The early bird might get the worm, but if you’re patient, you might just catch a table full of bird food going out long after that early bird has had his fill.
That isn’t to say there are no former Imps on the move though. Here are a few names you might recognise, and their new clubs.
Danny Rowe – Burton
Danny Rowe is a player I have a lot of time for, a tricky winger with a nice turn of pace and a wicked shot on him. He was released by Ipswich at the beginning of last season, turning up after a six-month lay-off at Burton Albion. He joined them on a short-term deal but struggled with niggly injuries as he did during his first spell with City. That hasn’t put off Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the Brewers manager, who snapped him up on a one-year deal this week. “Danny came in last season and we had to get him up to speed, but you could see his quality,” he said. “He had a few niggles last season that stopped him getting a full run of games but we’re really pleased to secure him for this season.”
James Wilson – Plymouth
32-year-old Wilson was an odd one. When we signed him, it felt like a real coup. He’d been on loan with Walsall, and yet he was recalled and sold to us despite us being a division below. It felt like he should be a first choice centre back for years to come, especially after a debut goal. An injury sustained at Cambridge put paid to his decent start and he never got back into the side on a regular basis, despite being a title-winner. His move to Ipswich raised eyebrows too, and after two years with the Tractor Boys he’s on the move again, this time to Plymouth. “He has got size and stature, heads and kicks it, defends, he’s a man, a leader,” said manager Ryan Lowe on completing the deal. “All these things we were looking for are hard to find, but when you come across someone like James Wilson who has been there, seen it, done it, he was certainly our main priority. Hence, why I have made him the first signing of the close season.”
Paul Farman – Barrow
Nobody could begrudge Paul Farman his Football League career. He was a stalwart of our National League days, fighting back from a loan spell at Boston and a one-way ticket out of the club, to become a hero of the 2016/17 season. Who can forget his performances against Arsenal, or in the Mailbox after beating Macclesfield? Nobody. It was a shame when he left, it was felt he wasn’t quite League Two quality by some, but he’s proven those people wrong with spells at Stevenage, Carlisle and now Barrow. His manager will be an old friend of ours, Cooperman. “He’s got good experience,” said Cooper, who never beat the Imps as manager of Forest Green. “He’s a great age for a goalkeeper, he can kick the ball a long way when you’re under pressure, he’s good with his feet and he’s an imposing figure. When I got the chance to get that one done, it was high on my list because he will give us the calmness we need.”
Lee Angol – Bradford City
Lee Angol is often a player held up as an example of rash transfer moves, having dropped into our title-winning season 2018/19 as a late loan signing. He played a couple of times, did nothing and forever became the embodiment of a panic buy. In 2016/17, he was anything but, and his goals and work rate helped get us over the line and back into the Football League. Nobody should forget that, nor that he was the first player this century to get a hattrick on his debut, (unless you count Adrian Patulea’s in a friendly against Lincoln United). It seems incomprehensible that Angol is still only 26, given that he has played for Mansfield, Shrewsbury, Leyton Orient and now Bradford since his first Imps spell. He has only managed 11 goals since the end of the 2017/18 season, but that hasn’t deterred Derek Adams from taking him to Valley Parade. “Lee is a dangerous forward who will bring a lot to our side, and we are delighted to have him here,” said the former Morecambe boss. “He is excited to get started and fits in well with what we are trying to build at Bradford City. Despite being only 26, and still having his best years ahead of him, Lee has a lot of experience at this level and above, having scored goals for a number of different sides across the EFL.”
Tom Davies – Tranmere Rovers
Okay, so this one might have you scratching your head even if you did go to Carshalton away, or North Ferriby, or whatever other godforsaken backwater belligerent fans wear as a badge of honour. In fact, if you want to recall Tom Davies playing for Lincoln City, then you will need to have travelled to Bristol Rovers in 2015, and paid attention in the second half. His solitary appearance for the Imps came as a sub for Sean Newton as we lost the game 2-0. Since then he has appeared for Southport, Accrington, Portsmouth, Coventry, Bristol Rovers and lastly Barrow on loan. He’s just hooked up with Tranmere Rovers, where returning manager Mickey Mellon said: “He has got good experience, good know how of the possession and the way we believe we need to play; he is able to do that very well. It is a great beginning for us as we begin to rebuild our entire squad.”
Alan Power – St Mirren
Would it be fair to call Power the best player never to kick a ball in the Football League for the Imps? Maybe. He was a star of those National league years, hotheaded at times, but often pulling us through some challenging games. He dropped down the pecking order a bit when we won the title, he wasn’t really Danny Cowley’s type of player, and it was no surprise when he was offered a contract that was tough to accept at the end of the season. He moved to Kilmarnock, where remarkably he helped them to a Europa League spot in his first season. Killie were relegated this season, but Power will still be in the SPFL as St Mirren have just had an undisclosed fee accepted for his services. “Alan is a very experienced central midfielder with a wealth of experience in the Premiership,” said St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin. “He’ll bring a real bit of steel to the middle of the park which we’ve lacked since I came back to the club. I feel we’ve missed that little bit of grit and someone who will go and make tackles and Alan will bring that in abundance.W”
He’ll bring steel Jim, that’s for sure.