Slim Pickings: Some of the Keepers Potentially Available on Emergency Loan

Credit Graham Burrell

The Imps have been hit with another injury blow this week; Josh Griffiths is out and could be unavailable until the end of the season.

It’s a huge hit for the Imps to take, and currently, our only senior keeper is Jordan Wright, with just 16 senior appearances to his name, but none in the Football League before joining us. He had a solid debut on Tuesday night, but with no backup option, we may have to bring in an emergency loan.

If we do, it cannot be from the Premier League, and the play must play for us, he cannot sign to sit on the bench. Now, I’m assuming nobody in League One would loan us a keeper, apart from perhaps teams at the top half of the table, but I’m still suggesting this might be a blind alley. So, I’ve taken the time to go through every squad in the Championship, look at their first team keepers and find ones that are not playing or on the bench, but who have enough experience to be classed as potential signings.

I’ll be honest; there’s probably only one or two you might put in the Bursik or Palmer mould. Perhaps.

Antonis Stergiakis (Blackburn Rovers)

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By Biser Todorov – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80687225

We certainly have a pre-existing relationship with Blackburn; they signed Tayo Edun from us and therefore can see how we develop players. They’ve got a keeper billed as ‘one for the future‘ by Rovers’ boss Tony Mowbray, who might fit the bill here. Stergiakis is a 22-year-old, 6ft 5in stopper with international football experience up to Under 21 level with Greece. He played 63 times for Slavia Sofia in Bulgaria’s top flight and even won the Bulgarian Cup with them.

Fabricio Agosto (Fulham)

By Anual – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16948643

The Tayo connection is strong here! The club we signed Tayo from, Fulham, have a decent squad of players and that includes Spanish keeper ‘Fabri’, a 34-year-old with Champions League experience. He’s had a nightmare since joining Fulham; he’s barely kicked a ball and is out of contract in the summer. He’s not the typical emergency keeper, given his age and experience, but he certainly has the senior exposure Michael seems to be looking for. Still, something tells me this is fanciful.

Ryan Schofield (Huddersfield Town)

Ryan Schofield

Schofield is more likely the type of player we’d go for; England honours up to Under 20 level, and 30 senior appearances for Huddersfield in the Championship last season. However, he appears to be injured at present, but if he’s close to a return, he might be a shout. He’s also played in League Two with Notts County, and had a short loan spell with Livingston.

Jordan Smith (Nott’m Forest)

Jordan Smith.jpg
By Nottingham Forest F.C. – Nottingham Forest F.C., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51374654

27-year-old Smith has limited senior experience, but he might be a shout for an emergency loan. He’s very much third-choice at the City Ground, having played a bit for them between 2016 and 2018. he’s had loan spells as well; he was at Mansfield in 2018/19, but he hasn’t played much since then. He might be the sort of player we need with experience to help the defensive players, and he’s known to Jordan Wright so might be something of a mentor.

Connor Ripley (Preston North End)

Connor Ripley.jpg
By Catherine Kõrtsmik – Flickr: U-19 Croatia vs England., CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20172484

If we were to sign a loan keeper, then I wouldn’t be disappointed for it to be Ripley. He’s at Preston North End right now, but isn’t faniced at all by Ryan Lowe. He’s out of contract in the summer, so might welcome some game time to put himself in the shop window. Ripley played for England at U18 and U20 level, all whilst at Middlesbrough. He had a few loan spells whilst at Boro, including stints with Oxford United, Bradford City, Östersund, Motherwell, Oldham Athletic, Burton Albion, Bury and Accrington Stanley. He’s been a bit-part player whilst at Preston, but had a stint with Salford last season as well.

Orjan Nyland (Reading)

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By Northside – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63611646

Those who followed the Championship closely a few years ago will recall Nyland signing for Aston Villa, under Steve Bruce I think, and being a bit of a flop. He’s played 33 times for Norway, but in recent years he’s struggled for game time. He left Villa for Norwich, then moved to Bournemouth where his only outing saw him concede six goals. The 6ft 4in stopper is currently on a short-term deal with Reading, but not getting game time.

Jake Eastwood (Sheffield Utd)

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Eastwood does know this area; he’s not only from Rotherham, but he’s had loan spells with Gaimsborough. Scunthorpe and Grimsby during his career. The 6ft 3in stopper has only played in League Two on loan, but has one Championship appearance to his name, and a single SPFL outing for Kilmarnock. Earlier this season he signed for Portsmouth on a seven-day emergency loan, and conceded five as they went down 5-3 against Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy.

Frank Fielding (Stoke City)

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33-year-old Fielding played a bulk of his senior football for Bristol City, after spending years with Blackburn Rovers. Whilst with Blackburn, he appeared for England Under 21s, but that was a while ago now. He recently joined Stoke City on a short-term deal to cover Joe Bursik when he got injured, acting as understudy to Jack Bonham. Both are now fit, which leaves Fielding in third place. He played 76 times in the Championship for Derby, and won a League One and EFL Trophy double with Bristol City seven years ago.

 

Keiren Westwood (Free Agent)

Keiren Westwood | Football Association of Ireland

This might be a bit out of leftfield, but if we wanted to stick with Jordan Wright, but have an experienced keeper in place as backup, then a short-term deal for former Sheff Weds keeper Westwood might be a big shout. He’s 37, so he wouldn’t be a long-term solution, but if Josh absolutely isn’t coming back, he might be a good layover until the end of the season. He represented Republic of Ireland 21 times in his long career of almost 500 domestic appearances. As well as the Owls, he had spells with Carlisle, Coventry and Sunderland, making 19 Premier League appearances for the latter.