Fresh on the back of me calling him the forgotten man of Sincil Bank, James Jones has left the club.
He’s joined ambitious National league side Wrexham for an undisclosed fee, with us seemingly having a sell-on clause. The official club statement reads:
“James Jones has completed a permanent move to National League side Wrexham AFC for an undisclosed fee with Lincoln City retaining a future interest in the player.
“The 25-year-old midfielder joined the Imps in June 2020 from Crewe Alexandra. Jones made 45 appearances and scored three goals in all competitions for City as Michael Appleton’s side reached the Sky Bet League One Play-off Final at Wembley last season.
“Everyone at the Imps would like to thank James for his contribution on the pitch over the last 12 months and we wish him well for the future.”
I think it is fair to say this is no surprise at all, given how he has dropped down the pecking order since his spell out at Christmas. Last season, James Jones looked to be settling into his role nicely, but the expected goals and assists never came. As we got better through the season, he drifted away. The last game of his fruitful spell was the 1-1 with Peterborough, after which he had a month out. When he came back, he looked a shadow of his former self.
The final two months of the season were clearly tough on Jones, who perhaps had one decent game, the 3-0 win against Crewe. The telling point is the average ratings you awarded him over the course of the season. He scored 7.24 in October, and averaged just under 7.00 for the first four months of the season. After the New Year break, he averaged 6.10, having completely dropped off the first-team picture. In one missed month, James Jones went from one of the first names on the team sheet, to last players off the bench.
I feel for him, I think the after-effects of Covid hit him hard, and as we dipped in form we needed him to be bang on it, which he wasn’t. His opening goal for City, that volley against Bradford, had us dreaming of a ten-goal central midfielder with a habit of pulling spectacular strikes out of the bag, but that player never appeared. He scored once in the league, against Rochdale, and conjured up three assists, including one against his former club Crewe.
He should do well in the National League, although it won’t be a walk in the park. I’m very surprised a League Two club didn’t come in for him, he’s more than capable of playing at that level. Wrexham are ambitious, they want promotion and maybe he’ll thrive in a team built with his skills in mind. It’s decent business for us too, we didn’t pay a fee for him and have sold him hence turning a profit. It’s not likely to be a huge profit, but it’s money into the Bank.
Like all former Imps (well, most former Imps) we wish him all the best for the future and hopefully, he’ll do well, get a big-money move and we can get a bit more cash from our investment.