The Imps were back in action on Saturday against Stockport County and started pre-season with a 1-1 draw in Spain. For many of us though, me included, the two friendlies this week against Kings Lynn and Boston will be our first real chance to see the team before the season starts.

I was at the game last night and it was great to be back watching City, but I’m not going to write a full-on match report, as it’s important not to read into these results and the performances too much, so instead I’m going to do a bit of a squad update and mainly look at some fringe players and the new signings that got minutes on a humid Tuesday night.

The first thing I’ll talk about is that both goalkeepers played last night and both did well, so I think we have a good battle on our hands for that number-one spot next season. We have two top-quality keepers at the moment. I consider this next statement a good thing but I can imagine some won’t, but I don’t know who starts at Bolton on the first day. We tried a number of different centre-half pairings, TJ Eyoma and Paudie O’Connor played the first half with MJ Kamara in a three, while Sean Roughan and Hayden Cann started the second period. For those who don’t know who Kamara is, he signed a professional contract last season after impressing as a scholar and Jez George said the defender had “really exciting attributes” in the article announcing his pro deal, and with the minutes he’s played so far in pre-season I think he might be around the squad a bit more this season. Cann is someone who interests me, he’s 20 now and although he hasn’t caught the eye too much over the last few years, he’s been given another deal so it’s clear he’s rated and he looked quite good last night, especially on the ball, so it will certainly be an interesting season for him as I think it’s crucial he gets some senior football at a good level to give him that platform to kick on.

Credit: Graham Burrell

Elicha Ahui played a big part last night, being only one of two players to play in both halves. I honestly think Elicha sticks around, his spell at Drogheda was more than impressive and if we look at what Sean did last year off the back of his Drogs’ spell, then we’d be stupid not to give him a chance to affect the first team. Why spend the money on a wing-back when we have Lasse Sorensen in form (based on last season) and a young hungry wing-back ready to battle for a starting spot? In my opinion, at right wing-back, we are sorted.

Jaden Brown played his first 45 minutes, which is positive. We need to get as many minutes into him as possible before the season starts, especially if we don’t bring in another wing-back on that side of the pitch and use Roughan as cover, which I think is a bit of a risk. Oisin Gallagher was the other player to feature in both halves of the game, and while I don’t want to be making predictions too early, I think this season could be a big one for him, I just don’t know whether that’s being on the fringes of our squad gaining experience or out on loan getting games. The new lad Ali Smith looks to have something about him too, he looked strong on the ball and showed a good range of passing, but obviously, it’s still early days to judge him.

Credit: Graham Burrell

Reeco Hackett caught my eye off the left, he looked lively and could’ve had a goal for his efforts in the first half, as did Charley Kendall who played off the right. Jovon Makama looked to impose himself on the opposition defenders in the second half and I’m really starting to like the look of that lad, everyone talks about Kendall and Freddie Draper, but Makama is going under the radar and developing well under Mark Kennedy. I think he’ll be the player to stick around and be that third-choice striker but this season he’ll get more opportunities in the cup to show what he can do.

One thing I also want to touch upon is the players that were unavailable (the ones that didn’t play basically). Ted Bishop hasn’t featured in either game so far, which is disappointing and I really hope he hasn’t got an injury because I think he can push on this year and become a valuable asset. He’s in the last year of his contract and if he wants to remain with the club, I think he has to stay fit and if he does that, he has a big part to play in our squad as it stands. Hakeeb Adelakun was missing too. Injury or not, I think he’ll be off later in the window anyway. It’s a shame it hasn’t worked out for Haks, but we need room in the budget and he’ll want to play regularly, so a departure suits all parties. Adam Jackson was also not present, but I imagine it’s a precautionary sort of thing to keep him fit going into the new season.

Credit: Graham Burrell

Obviously, I haven’t spoken about every player or things that happened during the match and that’s because I don’t want to bombard you with information that you already know. There is no need for me to evaluate what players like Ben House and Ethan Erhahon did last night because we already know what they can do, so I’ve just tried to say a little bit about the summer signings and some of the lads who didn’t feature too much last season to give you more of an idea on where the squad is at as a whole.

I admit it’s hard to draw conclusions from pre-season games, so I hope I’ve managed to sum up my thoughts on it in the best way possible for you and to be honest I can’t wait for the new season to get underway.

By Joe Briley

AllLincoln Site Owner.