Captain Tom To Leads Imps This Season

Credit Graham Burrell

The Imps’ club captain has been revealed for the coming season, and it’s striker Tom Hopper.

Hopper will almost certainly be called Captain Tom, taking over from the departing Liam Bridcutt. Hops will be the second Lincolnshire-born club captain in the last three, with Lee Frecklington having had the armband prior to Bridcutt. It’ll be a popular choice with some supporters, not least for Tom’s committed displays but also his influence on the squad.

As we head into a new season, it’ll be Hops we turn to for leadership, something lacking last season. It’s notable that in 2020/21, as we pressed on towards the play-offs, it was Hopper’s injury that left us short up top, and lacking goals. When he returned, he bagged the first goal in front of supporters in more than a year in the play-offs against Sunderland, and the crucial goal away at the Stadium of Light which sent us to Wembley. Last season, Hops never got going, but it was his injury, alongside Bridcutt’s, that left us short of leaders. I recall losing at home to Portsmouth with neither man in the squad, and we lacked direction. Chris Maguire and Conor McGrandles were on the pitch that night, but they didn’t pull the team out of the rut; Hops would have done.

Credit Graham Burrell

When he did come back from injury last season, Hops was a shadow of his former self, but he barely had time to adjust to match fitness before the campaign was over. This season, with the benefit of a full pre-season campaign, we should see the Hops we never knew we missed. He was instrumental in our forward play the year we made the play-offs, fighting from the front, and with Mark Kennedy wanting us to do just that, Hops could well be in his element.

I can definitely get on board with Hops being club captain. He is influential and it’s a sure-fire signal that he’s staying put for the season, contrary to some rumours that have been flying around. When you have a team so desperately short on seasoned professionals, Tom is a luxury and his combative fighting spirit will be vital if we’re to be aggressive in the press, from the front. He’s the sort of player who allows the Brennan Johnson-type players to get space and time, who makes space for Scully to cut in from the left. He might not be a Charlie Wyke, grabbing everything in the air and turning it into goals, but if you ask the wide players and the attacking midfielders who they prefer to play with, I’d wager Tom’s name would come up. He’s a footballer’s footballer, one that a teammate might appreciate more than some supporters, and that makes him a great choice for captain.

I am a little worried that the League One badge is coming off in the tweet the club put out, but I’m sure that’s not prophetic…..