“Wouldn’t Stand In His Way” – Imps’ Stance on Defender Revealed

credit Graham Burrell

There was a lot of really good stuff to come out of the recent interview with Jez George on BBC Sounds, and I want to pick up on two more players mentioned on the show.

I’m not going to write about everything Michael Hortin and Jez spoke about. If you wish to listen, you can do so here; it is highly recommended as they cover everything from Ted Bishop to Elicha Ahui, and Ethan Erhahon to Sam Long. As we wrote yesterday, there’s a huge amount of clarity around some players, including Lewis Montsma.

Two players whom Jez did talk about were those who went out on loan in the second half of the season, Ali Smith and Jaden Brown. It felt like both were on different paths; Smith featured consistently for Mark Kennedy, but Brown struggled for game time. However, as Jez has revealed, both seem to return to the Imps in the same boat.

Credit Graham Burrell

Smith has impressed at Colchester, despite picking up an ankle injury at the end of the campaign which means he’ll most likely only just be back for pre-season. However, if you’re expecting him to play a major role next season you might be disappointed, as it sounds like we are open to offers.

“We like him, he’s a good player, he played 30-odd games for us in the first part of last season, he wanted to have regular guaranteed football in his favoured position,” said Jez.

“He’s got one year left on his contract and we will do what is right for him and us. What we have got to make sure is that Ali gets what he wants, which is football regularly.”

“If there’s an option to do that, and it’s right for everybody, we would work with Ali and his representative to try to make that happen.”

That certainly opens the door for potential suitors, and Colchester are sure to be alerted given how he performed for them. We know Danny Cowley likes to go back in for loan players if they don’t let him down, and many of their fans have credited Ali with playing a big part in keeping them in League Two.

Credit Graham Burrell

One loan player who did not play a big part in his team’s season was Jaden Brown. Jaden came to the Imps following his release from Sheffield Wednesday but never really got going. Instead, he was in and out of the side, and that didn’t change when Michael Skubala arrived. The 25-year-old played four times for our current head coach, all away fixtures, and was last seen as we lost 2-0 at Blackpool.

He joined St Mirren but appeared just seven times for them, six of those in the SPFL. All were as subs, and his total league minutes amounted to 139. Jez admitted that he, too, would be allowed to leave if an offer came in.

“Every single signing doesn’t work perfectly. He didn’t quite hit the ground running,” Jez said. “I think if the right offer was there for Jaden, we wouldn’t want to stand in his way.”

However, as things stand, both Brown and Smith remain part of the squad, and both are capable of providing depth to the group if they do not move on. Whilst this doesn’t signal the end for them, it does hint that their roles would be limited going into next season. Football can be a funny game, and if either player needs the motivation to keep pushing, they need only look at Haks, who made his redemption arc work through pure determination to succeed.