Sunderland AFC pipped Gary Simpson to any chance of a bid for Duncan Watmore at the end of last season (our article HERE back in May) as manager Paulo Di Canio made the 19-year-old hot-shot his first signing offering him a 2 year deal as well as agreeing to part with an undisclosed fee for Altrincham. The striker is currently playing for the Sunderland development squad overseen by Ged McNamee who seemed quite impressed with the Imps style of play in the 2-0 friendly win earlier in the summer.
Watmore played for an hour in the Sunderland U21’s 2-0 win over the Imps in pre-season and scored 14 goals in 29 outings during his debut season for Altrincham as a supporting strike partner to Damian Reeves. The son of former FA CEO Ian, Duncan has phenomenal pace, a great touch and can dribble, suggesting he can adapt to the variety of formations Simmo likes to play.
Watmore played as a winger in this weeks 3-2 win over Middlesbrough laying on an assist and was inches away from making it four for the Black Cats in the last minute. Liam Agnew, who scored against the Imps, got two beauties against Boro suggesting he too would be a terrific addition if Simmo can twist Ged McNamee’s arm for a freebie for a cash strapped club who try to play football.
Simmo has been piling on the miles in his search for undiscovered gems but alas even those in the Blue Square North now appear out of his reach. The Imps may be full-time on paper but in reality the money the Imps are offering is unlikely to entice someone earning £20,000 in a full-time job who may then only get £100-£150 appearance fee for a part-time club. It is sad but true and therefore favours are the best the club can expect.
Gary Simpson was at the Altrincham V FC Halifax game on Wednesday, stirring speculation that the Imps could be in for either Damian Reeves or Duncan Watmore. The two have shared a fifty-five goal partnership this season, with Reeves on 41 and Watmore on 14 in his first full season. Gainsborough had failed to tempt Reeves last season, suggesting money is not the primary motivating factor for the 27 year old who scores for fun.
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According to a valued source over the years, Simmo was amongst a posse of scouts at the game. He was also overheard discussing the performance of Reeves and Watmore. Reeves on for the season had a quiet game by his standards but Watmore, just 19, looks a ready made replacement for Jamie Taylor. He has phenomenal pace a great touch and can dribble, suggesting he can adapt to the variety of formations Simmo likes to play.
Two other Altrincham players, winger Nicky Clee and left-back Matt Doughty, also stood out and are therefore worthy of a mention. On 68, the overlapping defender, exchanged passes before placing a right-foot drive beyond the keeper. If Simmo cannot tempt Tony Diagne to stay, Doughty would be a versatile two-footed full-back, although at 32 he could be a gamble. Left winger Nicky Clee also looked useful, grabbing the 48th minute opener in the 2-0 win. His 20 yard left-foot crisp drive after a one-two set Alty on their way to a play-off confrontation with Guisely or big spending Brackley in the play-offs.
Question is will the Imps meet one of these four in opposition next season, or will they be lining up for Simmo’s resurgent Imps?