Imps Double Exit Confirmed On Busy Day At The Bank

Credit Graham Burrell

It might have been one in this morning, and one out this afternoon, but two other players have exited the Imps on permanent deals in the last 24 hours.

As reported yesterday, Elicha Ahui has left the club. He’s joined Drogheda on a permanent deal, having previously been on loan. The former shadow scholar had a successful loan spell with them in 2022/23, but last season, he struggled to break into the Ayr side during a temporary spell. He then had a stint with Peterborough Sports, but it hasn’t been enough to convince the Imps he is ready to challenge for the first team.

“I’m delighted to be back,” he told the Drogs website. “The manager reached out to me, and as soon as he did, I wanted to come back. I’ve had more experience in men’s football in the year away too. It’s about coming in, helping the team as much as I can to move up the table.”

Credit Graham Burrell

Ali Smith departed this afternoon, as we’ve already reported. That’s a loan spell, but another player has left permanently: Hayden Cann. 20-year-old Hayden has been with the club for 12 years and had loan spells with Gainsborough Trinity, Lincoln United and Drogheda. He impressed in his final loan spell, enough for Dundalk to make a permanent move for his servcies.

“Hayden is a brilliant advert for Lincoln City Football Club and how we develop young players,” said Jez George. “He has progressed well in each of his loans but this opportunity for him to start his professional career as a first team player is one that is too good for him to turn down.”

“We support him in that decision and have an agreement with Dundalk which gives us a future interest in Hayden’s development and a buy-back option.”

Hayden Cann – Credit Lincoln City FC

Hayden appeared twice for the Imps, both times as a late sub in EFL Trophy games under Michael Appleton. Rather ironically, once the transfer is cleared, Hayden will be available for a game against Shamrock, before back-to-back league and FAI Cup fixtures against the Drogs.

“The way the fixtures have fallen is just typical,” he said on facing his former teammates. “All we’re focused on is this week’s game in Tallaght first but the two derbies that follow that are going to be massive games and we need to make sure we get the three points from the first one and go through in the cup in the second.”

Whilst there will be some who look at these sales as proof the academy isn’t working, I see the other side of the coin. Even if a young player who comes throguh does not make the first team squad at City, it’s great to see they’re worthy of moving to other clubs to continue their development, potentially with a small profit for the Imps. It makes a change from a young player being released at doing the rounds at Stamford, Grantham, Brigg and all of the other local non-league teams.

Best of luck to both as they look to fly the flag for the Imps Academy over in Ireland.