Following a historic season for Lincoln City, both in the league and FA Cup, a very tricky couple of months lie ahead for Imps duo Danny and Nicky Cowley.
With the departure of Terry Hawkridge, and potentially Sean Raggett amid interest from several high-profile clubs, it will remain a challenge to keep the top players in the squad.
Attracting players could also become an issue for Lincoln, with Imps’ boss Danny Cowley admitting he would, like the majority of his signings, to be from the lower leagues of English football.
Despite this, several highly rated players have been linked with the club. Pure speculation or not, below is just some of the potential players linked with the Imps.
Currently with Hartlepool United, midfielder Woods began his career in the youth setup at Leeds United. At just sixteen, Woods turned down a scholarship with Leeds to join Chelsea, where controversy shortly followed.
At the time, Leeds chairman Ken Bates claimed Chelsea had tried tapping-up Woods and other academy players, including Falkirk midfielder Tom Taiwo. Leeds received £5 million in compensation as a result.
He went on to spend time at Notts County, Doncaster and Harrogate. The attacking midfielder then ended up with Hartlepool, where he has made over ninety appearances for The Pools.
This season saw Hartlepool relegated to the National League and Woods’ Hartlepool career seem in doubt. It has also been reported that Grimsby were set to sign the player in January, but following Marcus Bignot’s departure, the move was withdrawn.
Michael could be a very pivotal addition to the Imps’ squad, creating an extra dimension for boss Danny Cowley, providing him an extra attacking player in the final third. He also matches Cowley’s style of play, pressing from the front and closing opposition defences down sharply.
Typically a winger, James was part of Oldham Athletic’s youth set-up, before joining Manchester City in 2012. Making his City youth debut at just sixteen, Hardy featured against a strong Chelsea side, which included the likes of Reuben-Loftus Cheek and teammate Brandon Barker.
After being released by City, Hardy was keen on playing regular first team football and joined AFC Fylde. Hardy was part of the promotion-winning team this year, after putting in several man-of-the-match performances including a win at home to Boston United, where the wide man netted one and assisted four.
James was rewarded with an England C call-up, where he certainly took his chance and impressed. In a 2-1 win against Estonia, Hardy bagged himself two assists. Fylde’s tricky winger could be the perfect replacement for Terry Hawkridge, following his move to Notts County.
Aston Villa youngster Jerell Sellars announced on Twitter that he shall be departing Villa after struggling to feature in the first team under Steve Bruce.
Jerell is originally from Lincoln, playing for the academy until 2012, which was when Villa swooped in for the winger. Since, he went on to spend the majority of his time with Aston Villa in the youth team, despite impressing the Villa faithful during pre-season.
Since his lack of first team action, Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth took him on loan to gain valuable first-team experience. After returning back from his loan spell, he again struggled to find first team football and often featured for the Villa Under 23’s.
Another potential replacement for the Cowley brothers, his sharp feet on the ball and pace makes him a like for like replacement after the departure of Hawkridge, whilst also showing his versatility as he can operate as a striker.
Could we see a signing anytime soon? I honestly think not. Danny Cowley often leaves signings until the end of the season due to a cheaper price tag on players, Sean Raggett and Nathan Arnold are a perfect example of how Danny does his business. Unless we see a free agent come in, I personally do not see a single bit of money spent until the latter part of the transfer window.
Feature image credit: Differentgravy at English Wikipedia
By Tom Bullivant (@tombullivant_)