May 12, 2023 6.00 pm This story is over 6 months old

Five free agents Lincoln City should look at this summer

Including a Shodipo return, a hometown hero and a striker linked for years

We are reaching silly season in English football, as the campaign comes to a close and the free agent market makes itself known.

Here we take a look at some of the released players who Lincoln City should be considering signing.

Lincoln City will be busy in the transfer market this summer. The club released its retained list recently, announcing that Regan Poole, Joe Walsh and Max Sanders would be leaving the club upon their contracts expiring at the end of June.

There’s a huge need to replace them and strengthen the squad in forward areas ahead of Mark Kennedy’s second season in charge of the Imps, and the free agent market is one of the best ways to address this.

Clubs across the EFL have been unveiling their retained list for next season, with a series of eye-catching names finding themselves without a club this summer.

Here are five players Lincoln City could, and possibly should, be looking at signing this summer – from familiar faces to hometown heroes.

Mide Shodipo

Lincoln City had Mide Shodipo on loan from QPR for the second half of last season. | Photo: Chris Vaughan / Lincoln City FC

The tricky winger spent the second half of last season on loan at the Imps, and made an impression with fans with his dynamic trickery and pace down the flanks.

Shodipo found the net twice in his 20 games for Lincoln City last season, scoring against Derby County and Plymouth Argyle.

He will not be offered a new contract by Championship side Queens Park Rangers, meaning a step down to League One is likely to be his next career move – so why not come back to the LNER Stadium?

Mark Kennedy desperately needs pace in this side to support the likes of Ben House in attacking positions, and Shodipo showed his quality on enough occasions to convince Imps fans that he is worth a try.

Conor Grant

Plymouth Argyle romped home to win the League One title this season, but midfielder Conor Grant spent a frustrating season watching the majority of this from the sidelines.

However, Grant is a player of huge quality and someone with good experience at League One level. He’s made over 100 appearances for Argyle, but will be released this summer as the Pilgrims prepare for life in the Championship.

Lincoln City could do with midfield recruits in the summer, particularly given the departure of Max Sanders and there being no guarantee that Matty Virtue will be back here on a permanent basis.

With that in mind, could the Imps turn to Everton academy graduate Conor Grant as the player to build a formidable partnership with midfield gem Ethan Erhahon next season?

Cole Stockton

Cole Stockton has been Morecambe’s top scorer for the last two seasons. | Photo: Cole Stockton via Twitter

Cole Stockton to Lincoln City, if it goes through, is surely one of the worst kept secrets in League One.

The Imps have been linked with the striker for a long time now, way before Morecambe announced he would become a free agent when his contract expires this summer.

Stockton scored 34 goals in his last two League One campaigns with Morecambe, and has always caused the Imps problems when he comes up against them.

A goalscorer could be the difference for Lincoln City next season, and in Stockton you have a centre forward who knows where the net is, and has showcased that at the required level for the last few years.

Jordan Willis

Defensive reinforcements are not a want but a need for Lincoln City this summer. Joe Walsh and Regan Poole will be leaving, Lewis Montsma is out for the forseeable future with another cruciate ligament injury, and Adam Jackson has a long history of picking up injuries across the course of a season.

It is almost hard to believe that Jordan Willis is only 28 years old, as the former Coventry City defender made his professional debut almost 12 years ago, and he is currently trying to get his career back on track.

After close to 200 appearances for Coventry, Willis left in 2019 to join Sunderland, where he played 50 times before his release in 2022.

The central defender spent the second half of last season at Wycombe after signing a short term deal in February 2023 – and he is now available again for clubs to look at this summer. A player proven at League One level, Jordan Willis could be a shrewd acquisition on a free transfer.

Sam Clucas

Sam Clucas has played in the Premier League, but now finds himself out of contract after his time at Stoke City came to an end. | Photo: Dom Fellowes

You may have to excuse this reporter for letting nostalgia and the idea of a fairytale comeback potentially cloud my judgement here, but who could really say no to Sam Clucas coming back to his place of birth?

The 32-year-old has enjoyed a stellar career in the game since his release from Lincoln City as a teenager. He has played Premier League football with Hull City and Swansea City, as well as being a regular in the Championship at Stoke City.

His contract with the Potters is up this summer, though, and now Clucas is left weighing up his options for the final few years of his playing career.

Clucas’ wages could well be a stumbling block for Lincoln, but if he is willing to take a pay cut in place of playing regularly, a return to the LNER Stadium could be the perfect full circle moment for his career.

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