The Imps have been linked with a move for a 19-year-old Championship striker, but the rumour raises just as many questions as it answers.
Journalist Darren Witcoop suggests were interested in QPR striker Sinclair Armstrong, a 19-year-old with 15 Championship appearances this season. He’s an Irish Under 19 international who began his career with Shamrock Rovers. That presents links to the current Imps squad, as he’s likely to have been on our radar when we started scouting that market. He’s also from the same club as our recent addition, Mide Shodipo, which fits the pattern we had last year with Liam Cullen and Morgan Whittaker.
Armstrong has been the subject of interest in the past; it is understood several League One and Two loan enquiries were rejected in the summer. In a recent West London Sport interview, QPR boss Neil Critchley admitted that he will listen to loan offers to continue his progress.
“I am mindful of that, because Sinclair is a young player with potential. He is someone who excites me when you see him work every day,” Critchley added. “I am used to working with young players at that age and part of coaching is giving opportunity to players at the right time, you have to spot that. We have to now make sure we keep his career moving forward and keep progressing at the right speed.”
There are obvious complications to this potential deal. Firstly, our first team squad currently has Carl Rushworth, Jack Diamond, Mide Shodipo and Harry Boyes in it, with Tashan on the fringes and Matty Virtue a starter when he’s fit – that is six loan players, and we can only have five in the squad. We could accommodate six, but it would mean one has to miss out each week when Virtue is fit. The obvious implication would be Tashan returning to Stoke City, alleviating the problem for now.
The journalist carrying the rumour suggests Gillingham are also interested, but QPR would likely want to place him with a League One club. Whilst ti would add options to our attack, it might not placate some supporters, eager to see us sign a striker of our own (which we did last season with Ben House). I’m not as sure about this rumour as some others; whilst it feels possible, there’s also an element of inevitability about it – QPR, Mike Garrity, Mide Shodipo, it feels a little too generic.