I did a dog walk video on the subject yesterday, but reporter Adrian Kajumba has confirmed that City are close to bagging Ben House from Eastleigh.
With two strikers already through the door in Liam Cullen and John Marquis, the capture of House is very much about fleshing out the side with talent to develop for the future. House, who is 22, currently plays for Eastleigh in the National League. He scored ten times for them in 40 matches last season, and has added five in 18 this time out. Of course, some fans will look at that return and say stuff like ‘underwhelming’, but as I always have to stress, goal return is very much secondary in some instances. The best strikers can have a good return and fail at your club, whilst others come in with average records and leave heroes. Case point; Davide Somma had scored two goals in 60 matches before landing at the Bank a decade ago.
Who is ben House? The Guildford-born striker came through the ranks at Reading, a club with a strong youth system (remember Sean Long and Rob Dickie), after starting out with Aldershot Town. He signed his first professional deal with the Royals in 2017, and enjoyed loan spells with Dagenham (twice) and Swindon Town, without scoring. However, his potential had certainly been noted; he appeared for Scotland at Under 20 and Under 21 level, before being released by Reading.
He found his way to Eastleigh, scoring on his debut in a 5-1 win against Barnet. He was an instant hit with the Spitfires, and was awarded the National League Player of the Month award for October after four further goals. Last winter, he was linked with Portsmouth, Charlton, Ipswich but a move never materialised. After a solid first season, he earned a one-year contract extension, which ensured he remained at the club this season. In the summer, manager Ben Strevens said he expected bids for the forward, but he did not move on from the south coast. Instead, he’s had a stop/start camping, looking dangerous when he plays, but having a short spell out with injury which has disrupted his 2021/22 season. Three of his four goals came in a ten-day spell in September, but he’s only played two games since the middle of November after suffering an injury.
House is an out-and-out forward, a player who likes to get shots away when he can: he averages just over two per game for Eastleigh, who are 13th in the table. He gets 3.16 touches in the box per game for his club, and assists 0.78 shots, sho roughly creates chances for teammates in three games out of four.
I think, there’s an element of uncut diamond in here, an opportunity to attempt to shape a player who could accrue value in a key position. For a club like us, that does rely on selling to generate funds, having strikers who could move on is a big thing. It certainly won’t hurt to have Freddie Draper and Ben House sniffing around the first team, and there’s bound to be Imps fans out there screaming for us to have multiple striker options, which really hasn’t been the case for five or six years now.
If there are any developments, we’ll be all over it for you. You can put your House on it (sorry, I could work it into the title, but I had to squeeze it in somewhere).