It’s that time again; someone who has never played football at any level offers their opinion on a squad of League One players based on nothing other than 90 minutes every week or so.
Yep, it is the Stacey West yearly rundown of the Imps squad. This year, to give it a bit of depth, I’ve added a few little bits. Before you jump into my look at the current squad, here are a few things to consider.
- Players who left the club during the season are not included; there’s no Edun or N’Lundulu, for instance.
- I’ve included a few stats. All appearance and goals data are from all competitions.
- The assists are from Wyscout, in case there’s any dispute.
- The average rating, and best and worst performances are from your ratings over the season. I haven’t put the Accrington data into the averages (as there’s also another game to go as well), but I have included those players who you felt had their worst game of the season in Lancashire.
I’m going to break it down into small sections, released daily this week, so as to not drop a whole load of stuff on you, and so you can debate and discuss in small chunks. I’m writing this on Sunday, and plan to drop one article per day through until Friday, which leads us into the Crewe game. If you’re reading this Friday, I hope I feel better, as I’ve had a stinking cold all bloody weekend, exasperated by the Accrington performance!
Without further ado, let’s crack on, shall we?
Apps 12 (4) Goals 1 Assists 1 Second Assists 1
Average Rating – 7.20
When Brooke signed for the Imps, I thought he might turn up, spend some time around the first team and maybe get a few minutes at the end of the season. He didn’t feel like a game-changer; we had two right backs (Poole and Eyoma), so dragging a third in felt like a contingency if anything. It’s been far from that; if he’d had a full season in red and white I suspect we’d be looking at a Player of the Year candidate. He’s a powerful boy, direct and attacking, and whilst that might mask some naivety in his defensive role, he’s certainly caught the eye. I suspect he’ll be Championship bound next season, but I think we’re blessed to have seen him in an Imps shirt, and he could well grace the Premier League in the future.
Hit / Miss – Hit
Best Performance: Wycombe (H) 8.5
Worst Performance: Accrington (A) 4.3
Apps 49 Goals 1 Assists 1 Second Assists 2
Average Rating – 6.73
Player of the Year, no doubt. Regan Poole had his critics in the first part of the season, but he hasn’t let the side down at all. He’s the only player to break 40 League One starts, he’s had to adapt to playing different positions across the back and yet on each occasion he’s done so with complete commitment. I like him on the right of a three at the back, but I suspect he’ll return to right back next season. What I will say is this; don’t be surprised if clubs come in for him this summer, because I think he’s the sort of player who does a lot that goes unseen. He’s a constant worker, and he’s still only young as well.
Best Performance: Plymouth (A) 8.9
Worst Performance: Hartlepool (H) 4.5
Apps 21 (4) Goals 0 Assists 0 Second Assists 2
Average Rating – 6.25
Jamie Robson didn’t settle straight away, although personally, I liked him from the off (maybe thanks to the Cambridge win). He seemed to disappear for no reason, but Michael questioned his energy levels later in matches, and it seems he went out of the side to work on that. He’s done well since coming back into the team, despite being given a bit of a tough time against Wigan. I like his aggressiveness, but he’s certainly more of a defensive full back than a wing back; I’m not sure that entirely suits our approach. I do expect him to be a key player next season though, and for that, he’s getting a ‘hit’ rating, even if we perhaps haven’t seen him at his best.
Hit / Miss – Hit
Best Performance: Charlton (H) 8.1
Worst Performance: Crewe (A) 4.7
Apps 1 Goals 0 Assists 0
Average Rating – 6.70
Sean got one game against Bowers & Pitsea, but he’ll be back here next season and I hope he’ll be back stronger. He’s getting good reviews from Drogheda, and as a naturally left-sided central defender, I like to think there’s a place for him in the Imps squad. Given how he burst onto the scene last season, and how he disappeared, it’s hard to tell if there’s a first team player of the future. It’s weird we were talking about Chelsea and Southampton for him last season, but in the 12 months since he’s had one first team appearance and is now over in Ireland. It’s a big six months for the youngster.
Only Performance: Bowers & Pitsea (H) 6.7
Apps 9 (14) Goals 1 Assists 0
Average Rating – 6.59
The Imps’ history is littered with players we think should get more game time, but who don’t. Phil Brown in 1989/90 springs to mind, Paul Dobson a few years after that, and even Zack Elbouzedi recently. The new kid on that list is Max Sanders, a player I think has probably played his last game for the club, given Michael’s comments after the Accrington defeat. I hope not; there looks to be a decent player in Max, but I’m not sure he’s settled here. He’s started nine matches but given out injury crisis, and given he’s been fit for much of it, I think he’s on the fringes looking outwards, which is a real shame.
Best Performance: Sunderland (A) 8.6
Worst Performance: Accrington (A) 4.2