In recent years the winger department has been a strong one for the Iron; Morris, Holmes, Adelakun, Duffy, Woolford, Beagrie, Hodges – the names roll off the tongue. Whilst not blessed with the same quality, in number at least the current squad is well-equipped with five wingers currently on the books, writes CambsIron.
The pick of the current bunch are undoubtedly Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa, but both are out of contract in the Summer and are seemingly unlikely to be at the Sands Venue next season given their own personal ambitions to play higher up the League pyramid. Whilst likely to leave, there is a debate to be had as to whether they would both in fact benefit from a further 12 months in League 2, to work on their consistency and end product. At the time of writing, this season Gilliead has registered only 4 goal involvements (1 goal, 3 assists), whilst Eisa fairs better with 11 (8 goals, 3 assists) but suffers from erratic form and dubious application in games.
2020/21 has been a breakthrough season for Devarn Green in terms of game time. Blistering pace and exciting potential has been on show along with an end product that needs work both in terms of decision making and quality on the ball. Green looks like he will be a key man for the Iron next term. Myles Hippolyte has another year to run on his current deal and provides versatility and effort down the left flank but has rarely impacted positively in the final third of the pitch. The forgotten man at the Sands Venue is Andy Dales, his debut goal at the Ricoh Arena seems like an age ago. Dales has not had a sniff of first team action under Neil Cox and will surely been on his way this summer.
With only Green and Hippolyte likely to be in the squad next season, and the latter only really evidencing that he is a cover option at present, the Iron will likely be in the market for two new wingers in the summer. Given the lack of creativity in the team this season, significant investment is required in this area of the pitch. Here are five ambitious options for Neil Cox and the Swann scouting duo to consider.
THE OUT OF FAVOUR OPTION – Bruno Andrade, 27, Salford City
An athletic and technically adept winger, perhaps the best crosser and passer of a ball of these options. An ex QPR youth product, Andrade rose to prominence at Boreham Wood in the National League notching 32 goals and racking up 17 assists in two seasons. A move to Lincoln City followed which demonstrated his qualities transferred to League football as he won the League 2 title in 2018/19. A surprise move back to League 2, with Salford City, in January 2020 is yet to prove truly fruitful for all parties. Injuries and competition for places have seen Andrade’s starts limited since January 2021. Likely to be on a high wage and is under contract, but could have an unclear future given the arrival of a new manager at Salford.
THE OUT OF CONTRACT OPTION – Omari Patrick, 24, Carlisle United
A powerful and direct winger, Patrick showed flashes of what he is capable of in the Iron’s recent defeat at Brunton Park. Patrick can stretch a defense and beat his man with sheer power in a foot race. Adept on either flank, so would dovetail nicely with Devarn Green and can also do a job down the middle if needed. Offers height and a good strong physique in his defensive work – something that has been lacking for the Iron this season. Out of contract this Summer according to reports, but Carlisle (and others) are likely to vow for this signature. Join the queue.
THE LOAN OPTION – Theo Archibald, 23, Lincoln City
Hot property last summer, Archibald was a standout performer in otherwise poor Macclesfield Town team. Following his move to Sincil Bank, Archibald has suffered through injury (not major) and a lack of opportunities making only 7 substitute League appearances for the Imps. Naturally left sided, Archibald is a mobile and dynamic runner and has a body shape and poise akin to Martyn Woolford. A powerful shot from range and an eye for goal. Under contract at Lincoln but clearly down the pecking order and needs games. Would a cheeky loan bid work for all parties?
THE NON-LEAGUE OPTION – Callum Roberts, 23, Notts County
Following his release from Newcastle United, Roberts surprisingly fell way down the pyramid to sign for Blyth Spartans in the National League North. At Spartans, Roberts rediscovered his confidence and love for the game, with his 17 goals in 25 games earning him a move to Meadow Lane in January 2020. His resurgence has continued at Notts County, but he is currently out of side due to injury/illness. Naturally left sided, Roberts is perhaps the most talented and technically gifted of these options. An excellent ball carrier, with pace, and gets fans out of their seats. He now carries a bit more bulk and aggression in his work on and off the ball. Under contract at County until 2023 but should the Magpies’ promotion push falter he would surely have his head turned by an offer of regular League football. A talent.
THE UNTAPPED POTENTIAL OPTION – Courtney Senior, 23, Colchester United
Only 23, Senior already has over 120 League appearances to his name having burst on to the League 2 scene in 2017/18. A strong 2018/19 season followed with 6 goals and 5 assists as Colchester pushed for a play off spot. Senior’s numbers declined in 2019/20 as the U’s were defeated in the play offs. Handed a long-term deal in 2020, Senior has been a regular starter this season (along with Callum Harriott on the opposite wing – also worth noting), but is out of form and seemingly low on confidence. A diminutive, express pace right winger. Senior lacks some discipline defensively and should contribute more in terms of numbers given his ability to get in behind and stretch a defence Decision making in the final third needs work – similar to Devarn Green in this regard.
A once hot prospect now going a bit stale in a team which is in freefall and the most likely to drop if Grimsby or Southend can find some form. Needs a fresh start and a relegation for U’s could see him become available.