Alex Palmer has returned to West Brom from Luton Town, opening the possibility of a sensational Lincoln City swoop.
Palmer was one of the stars of last season’s push up the League One table, and I recall tales of his love for City in the weeks after he left. Obviously, he wanted to try his hand in the Championship, but people who spoke to him recalled how fond he was of the area. Sadly, his dream of playing for West Brom has not yet materialised; he’s had just one League Cup game for them this season.
It seemed wretched timing when Josh Griffiths picked up his injury; Palmer had just joined Luton Town on a seven-day loan deal. Their injury crisis has now eased, and Luton Today have now revealed the popular keeper has returned to the Hawthorns. Could it be a brief return, before a surprise move back to Sincil Bank?
Other outlets have had us as being interested in Jake Eastwood of Sheffield United, one of the keepers I listed earlier this week, but Palmer’s availability is sure to be of significant interest. A keeper needs on understanding with his back four (or five in our case now), and that wouldn’t be an issue for Palmer. We haven’t changed across the back much at all, and Poole, Eyoma, Jackson, Walsh and Bramall will all have previously played with Palmer. It’s an obvious option for Michael Appleton, and we’re guaranteed quality as we already know he’s a superb stopper.
The other option (or one of the other options), is 25-year-old Jake Eastwood from Sheffield United. The Rotherham-born keeper has been a Blade since the age of ten, but has just three appearances to his name for them. Two came in the League Cup in 2017/18, in their 3-2 win against Walsall and 4-1 defeat against Leicester City. On February 3rd 2018, he got his only taste of Championship action, coming on as a sub after Simon Moore was sent off. His side were already 2-0 down, and they ended up losing 3-2.
His senior experience has been boosted with loan spells at Sheffield FC, Gainsborough Trinity, Mickleover Sports, Chesterfield, Scunthorpe, Kilmarnock, Grimsby and Portsmouth. However, since his one Championship appearance, he hasn’t played above League Two in England, and his one game in the SPFL was followed by injury. His last emergency loan spell saw him move to Portsmouth, where he conceded five against AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy earlier this season.
Whilst reports suggest we are eyeing Eastwood, how much better he is than Jordan Wright is up for debate; Jordan has had a decent start to his Imps career, keeping a clean sheet yesterday. Michael has made it clear he doesn’t want to go into matches without a keeper on the bench, and as Jordan hasn’t played five times for us, he isn’t classed as senior according to EFL rules. That means an emergency loan, and it might just mean the unexpected, headline-grabbing return of one of our play-off heroes from last season.