City have completed the signing of defender Jay Benn on a permanent transfer from FC Halifax Town.
The 20-year-old made 12 appearances for the West Yorkshire side after coming through the youth system at The Shay and operates primarily as a right back. It’s unclear if the club have paid a fee for him; it was reported earlier he’d joined on a free transfer, but Benn’s contract was extended by a year last month. Whatever the details of the transfer, the youngster is clearly delighted to have signed for the Imps.
He said: “I’m really pleased to join this massive club and it’s a great step up for me. The club is heading in the right direction and that’s what I want to do as a player too. It looks like a great place to be involved and I’m looking forward to being part of the project. I’d like to thank everyone at Halifax for the opportunity they have given me and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”
“As a player, I have bundles of energy and get up and down the pitch from full-back. I’m looking to progress here, get better year on year and can’t wait to get out there and play.”
City head coach Mark Kennedy added: “Jay is the prototype Lincoln City full-back. He has fantastic athletic and technical attributes, he is forward-thinking, forward running, forward passing and will really excite our supporters. Our recruitment department identified him early in his FC Halifax Town career and we have worked really hard to sign him ahead of competition from other League One clubs. Jay is a real prospect, who fits the Lincoln City profile perfectly and is just the type of player we should be signing.”
Benn came through the youth ranks at Halifax Town, and made his debut in a Man of the Match performance against Maidenhead United at the beginning of last season. He tore a hamstring in September and was ruled out until New Year, but he returned and made a handful of appearances as The Shaymen finished fourth. They were beaten in the play-off quarter-finals, meaning another season in the fifth-tier awaits.
For the second time in a week, I am forced to recall the name Kevin Sandwith; this signing has shades of Sandwith. He arrived from Halifax having appeared against us for them in the Mickey Mouse cup when National League teams were invited in, not Under 23s. He was certainly a decent full back, and if Benn has the sort of impact Sandwith did in his time at the club, he’ll be a decent signing.
However, my gut tells me the club are hoping he’s a little more than a ‘decent’ signing, and when you consider three full backs have left the club in three years, for fees expected to be well over a million, you begin to understand the thinking behind this swoop.