‘We have to think smart’ – Michael Appleton on versatility within the new recruits

Credit Graham Burrell

One element of the Imps’ squad which is undeniable is the flexibility of certain players.

As the signings have poured in, there has been plenty of discussion as to where they might play. Several of the new signings have yet to be defined by a position, and I was even told as much by an MK Dons fan hours after we signed Lasse Sorensen. If we get him in a position and he settles, then he’ll do well; that is what I was told.

Michael admitted to me that flexibility is something they look for in a new recruit, as a mechanic for getting the most out of the budget to compete at the right end of the table.

“It comes down to budget,” he confirmed when I asked about the player’s versatility. “You want to have the best possible players you can get and be really competitive in the eleven, but if there are injuries, still be really competitive.

“We dd it last year with a few players too. The likes of Lewis Fiorini, Lasse Sorensen and Teddy (Bishop), they can all play different positions, as can Scully (featured image) who we already have in the building. Hakeeb (Adelakun) can play either side, Chris Maguire can play across the front three and at the back, Regan (Poole) can play in the centre.”

Maguire can play anywhere across the front three – Credit Graham Burrell

The same can be said for many of last year’s players, the likes of Morgan Rogers, TJ Eyoma and Brenna Johnson, all able to play in more than one position. It was an approach that paid dividends, and Michael is hoping it pays dividends again.

“They’re the type of players we have to bring in. We had a few of them last year, and if we want to compete at the top end we can’t just say ‘we’ll replace that right back with that right back’ or ‘this left-winger with that left-winger’, we just haven’t got the capacity to do it. We have to think smart and be a little bit cleverer than some.

“You have a little pot of gold” he added, gesturing to his desk to an imaginary pot. “You have to make that pot of gold go as far as you can, including not being weak if you get a couple of injuries.” For a second, he divided the pot of gold up, doubtless picturing how much might be left for a striker or a right back.

The transfer policy has certainly brought about results, with players performing in more than one position. TJ Eyoma was a firm fan favourite at right back and centre back, whilst Tayo Edun has been a revelation at left-back, but also strong in midfield. Is there another gem lurking in those new recruits, perhaps Sorensen, who will be a jack of all trades, and master of more than one?