Contrary to all the expert analysis you hear on here, the Imps have signed an attacker on a short-term deal until January.
Before you start scrambling for Wikipedia, wondering which free agent has committed to such a deal, it is a face we know. It’s a face some of us were keen to see added on a permanent basis in the summer. Ladies and gentlemen – Mide Shodipo is back.
“It feels great to be back, I am delighted to be here again and am raring to go,” said Mide.
“This is a move that works for both parties. I know the players, I know the fans and I know what the club is like so I can settle straight back into things. They made me feel so welcome last time and I can’t wait to play in front of them again”
Jez George, added: “This is a no-brainer for both parties. Mide knows us, we know him and in our situation, with significant injuries to Ben House and Tyler Walker, he gives us more options at the top end of the pitch and crucially, unlike other options who are free agents, Mide is ready to hit the ground running.
“This arrangement helps us in the short-term and gives Mide the opportunity to earn a longer term contract with us or another club in January.”
It’s unusual that a signing catches supporters out. However, when Mide first signed back in January, it was classed as one ‘we weren’t expecting‘, and here we are, ten months later in the same boat. The 26-year-old is a product of the QPR Academy and enjoyed loan spells at Port Vale, Oxford United and Sheffield Wednesday before joining us in January. While at the Kassam Stadium, he played a pivotal role in helping Oxford reach the League One play-off semi-finals with a spell in which he scored 13 goals in all competitions, with three assists.
I think his spell here last season was a success – he got the only City goal as we drew 1-1 with Derby on Valentine’s Day, and then he scored a sumptuous opener as we beat Championship-bound Plymouth Argyle in April. He also chipped in with a couple of assists, one in the 2-0 victory against Cheltenham and another as we slumped to a 3-2 defeat against Morecambe.
In total, he managed 24 shots in his 20 matches, more than an effort a game, with a 37.5% accuracy. His crossing was equally as impressive – 26 crosses, more than one per game, with 34.6% accuracy, above average.
So, what does this mean for now? He isn’t a striker, I get that, but he is an attacker, and that gives us better options. Think of it like this – we’ve got Reeco and Danny Mandroiu, who can play through the middle, but if they do, we’re then light on wide players. It’s why Ted, primarily a central midfielder, has been operating on the flank. Now, with Haks in from the cold, we do at least have the personnel to remain 3-4-3 throughout the game.
It’s a deal I’m really happy with. Short term, the club’s ability to work in January isn’t impacted, and it’s a player who knows much of the squad and how we operate. He will be short of match fitness, so don’t expect him to start tomorrow, but ten minutes from the bench per game will soon have him getting closer to full fitness.
It’s not a striker, but free-agent options in that area are very limited. However, Mide is an attacker, and right now, numbers up top are what we need.