Imps Eye Middlesbrough and Sunderland Youth Talent.
The Middlesbrough FC and Sunderland FC friendlies may have more to them than first meets the eye. Grant will doubtless have had something to do with the Sunderland game (he hails from there) and ex-Imp Jamie Clapham is currently working as Middlesbrough FC’s Senior Professional Development Phase Coach. STMI’s gut feeling is that Simmo and Grant will use their contacts to ensure there will be some quality trialists from both of these North-East giants, as pre-season training kicks off in little over a month. Ben Futcher (Bury FC Development Coach) might also be able to help us with some loans from Gigg Lane.
Thank you for reading Neil Gentleman-Hobbs.
Jamie Clapham, finally managed to play for his home town club, after Tottenham had nicked him from under our noses. Our youth set-up and scouting network has certainly come on since the 90’s, which is a credit to Chris Moyses money, drive and ambition for the Imps. Clapham, just 37, will be keen to blood some of his young charges at a club with a management team that will commit to give them a regular game, just as the Imps will want to use the loan budget to get in some half and, perhaps full-season youth loans. Holdsworth got the loans but oh so many were pulled back, when they did not get a game.
Boro play their reserve and under 18 games at Rockliffe Park, near Hurworth. Clapham is ably assisted by Mark Tinkler and youth guru Stan Dixon, although another ex-full-back Mark Cooper is leaving to manage The Monkeyhangers at Hartlepool. Middlesborough were Champions of the prestigious Central League in 2010/11 whilst the Academy side more than punch above their weight in the FA Premier Academy League. The Imps will need an understudy keeper, although Farman is unlikely to give a loan too much opportunity, so we may not see Luke Coddington, or Shane Bland at Sincil Bank for 5 months. Winger come striker Ross Grosvenor looks useful, as does Charlie Wyke, although he has already spent a season long loan at Hartlepool United. Jake Fowler, Chris Howard and Adam Garrity also have good futures ahead of them. Left back/left winger Adam Reach would certainly fit the six-foot soldier bill – he is already 6′ 5″ and still growing. However he made 9 starts and 9 appearances from the bench last season, so perhaps he is, pardon the pun, out of our reach.
Ex- Grimsby youth team boss Robbie Stockdale is running the youth with Kevin Ball serving as Senior Professional Development Coach. Keeper Jordan Pickford spent time on loan at Alfreton last term and could be sent on loan again. The Midfielders include ADAM REED , ALEJANDRO GORRIN , BILLY KNOTT and WADE JOYCE (click on any name and you will be directed to the official Sunderland site for a pen-pic). The strikers look useful too – ADAM MITCHELL , CRAIG LYNCH , JORDAN LAIDLER and RYAN NOBLE. The under 18’s squad is also worth a glance here and Andrew Cartwright has some Lincolnshire connections, through his dad, that sees him as an interesting dark horse.
Several of these players will be on show in July’s friendlies against Sunderland U21 (Wed 24/7 7.00pm) and Middlesbrough U21 (Sat 27/7 2.00pm). Clearly any kind of tie-up with these two giants would be a massive bonus. Last season was not the time to chance youngsters, as we lacked the leadership on the pitch at times to keep us up, let alone giving any young lads a decent opportunity to shine. However that is changing during an exciting opening phase to the Simpson rebuild at Sincil Bank. With money tight, the loan budget goes twice as far, with old pals acts and favours the name of the game. Perhaps Futcher, another ex-Imp, might also help us out. Bury are going through another financial crisis and it has been of some surprise not to see us make a move for a permanent signing by now. Simmo has been tentatively linked with a Gigg Lane raid.