Summer Signing Number Two Checks In

The Imps have made their second acquisition of the summer, adding experienced attacker Chris Maguire to the ranks on a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old arrives as a free agent after a three-year stint with League One rivals Sunderland. He is well-known to Michael Appleton, having previously played for him at Portsmouth and Oxford United.

“He brings us a lot of quality in two or three positions,” said Michael, who last worked with him during his final season at Oxford United. “He is very experienced so will help the group in difficult moments throughout the season. He is a leader who brings some real know-how, he will really help the young players in the group and help bring a balance to the squad.”

Credit Lincoln City FC

Maguire scored 28 goals in 124 appearances during his time on Wearside and chipped in with five goals and five assists in their League One play-off campaign last season, despite starting just 11 of his 33 League One outings. He struggled to get into the side after Lee Johnson arrived, with the former Bristol City man coming under fire for not including the popular player more during the final weeks of the season.

Maguire, who appeared twice for Scotland, started his career with Aberdeen, where he spent six seasons making 131 SPFL appearances and appearing in the Europa League and UEFA Cup. That earned him a move to Derby County for a fee thought to be around £400,000, but he struggled at Pride Park, appearing seven times in the Championship, scoring once in a 3-1 win against Portsmouth. He was praised during his time there, but he was kept down the pecking order by several attackers, one of which was former Imp Theo Robinson.

During his spell with the Rams, he moved to Portsmouth, where he first played for Michael Appleton. Appleton was hugely impressed by the forward and was keen to keep him at Fratton Park, saying, “I tried to get him in January, but it didn’t quite happen. I am glad he is here now. He’s enjoying his football and the opportunity to show he is a talent.” His loan was extended and he scored three goals in 11 matches, even picking up Pompey’s Player of the Month award, ironically at the beginning of their game against Derby County, which he couldn’t feature in. Pompey were relegated at the end of the season, and Maguire returned to Derby.

Maguire in his final performance for Sunderland against the Imps – Credit Graham Burrell

His spell with the Rams was almost at an end though, as Sheffield Wednesday coveted his services. He joined them on a three-year deal shortly after their promotion to the second-tier and went on to make 79 Championship appearances over three seasons, scoring 18 times. He also had a short stint on loan with Coventry City, bagging two League One goals in three appearances before a move to Rotherham and Steve Evans. That didn’t work out (shocker), and Evans loaned him to Oxford, managed by Michael. After a six-game loan spell, his move to oxford was made permanent and he earned the first promotion of his career as they finished second in League One.

The following season he bagged 13 League One goals as Oxford just missed out on a top-six place, but was a runner-up at Wembley in the EFL Trophy for a second successive season. At the Kassam, he was a key figure for Michael Appleton, and he spoke of his ‘connection‘ with our boss before leaving for Bury after Michael left for Leicester City. “The combination between me and the gaffer is very strong,” he said. “That’s probably the main reason I signed, so if the gaffer is here there’s a great chance of that {a new deal] happening. I can’t praise him enough. I’ve worked with him for a number of years now and he’s a great up-and-coming young manager.”

Bury wasn’t a happy time for the player, who never seemed at ease with Lee Clark’s system, which saw the Shakers relegated, and him leave for Sunderland, where he broke his EFL Trophy hoodoo last season by playing for 63 minutes as the Black Cats beat Tranmere. By the end of the season, he had forced his way into the Black Cats side, starting his final game as we beat them 2-1 in the play-off semi-final.

Maguire can play a number of roles – he appeared on the right-wing, left-wing and in an attacking midfield role for the Black Cats last season. He even appeared as an out-and-out centre forward on occasion, scoring three in two matches against Carlisle (EFL Trophy) and Swindon back in October.