IMPS CLOSE IN ON ASAMOAH
IMPS CLOSE IN ON ASAMOAH
LINCS ECHO, 10 March 2005
Imps boss Keith Alexander is close to completing a deal to sign striker Derek Asamoah from rivals Mansfield Town.
The 23-year-old hitman is out of favour with new Stags boss Carlton Palmer and the City manager has swooped to boost his promotion-chasing squad.
The move would see Asamoah joining the Imps until the end of next season.
"I am just waiting for a phone call," said Alexander. "If it's all systems go, Derek will join us for a nominal fee.
"I am hoping he will bring extra pace to our attack and more goals."
Meanwhile, injured captain Paul Morgan insists his fate is in the hands of Alexander ahead of the game at Southend United on Saturday.
Morgan sat out Saturday's 3-2 home defeat by Wycombe after straining his hamstring in training last Thursday.
The Belfast-born sweeper admits he would ideally like to sit out the League Two promotion tussle with the Shrimpers to avoid prematurely ending his season.
However, during Alexander's three-season reign at Sincil Bank, Morgan's absences have severely hampered City's progress.
The 26-year-old has been sidelined for 11 league encounters during the past three seasons, with City winning only three and losing six of those matches.
But Morgan insists he would prefer to be fully recovered from his latest injury before returning.
"The hamstring doesn't feel too bad and I've been doing some running in training," he said.
"However, there are 10 games to go and I would prefer to sit out another match, rather than risk aggravating the injury and missing the run-in.
"The decision is out of my hands because the manager will have the final say over whether I play or not.
"I'll see how training goes for the rest of the week and have a fitness test on Saturday morning to see how I am."
Injury ruled Morgan out of five matches in last season's crucial promotion chase.
The Imps were only successful in one of those outings - a 3-0 thrashing of Rochdale - and collected just two more points without the former Preston ace.
After suffering consecutive defeats against Cheltenham and Wycombe, Imps fans will be keen to see the highly-rated defender leading the side out at Roots Hall for a game they can ill-afford to lose if they are to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.
Supporters have inundated the Echo with their thoughts on Alexander's return to a 5-2-3 formation last Saturday, which saw Matthew Bloomer replace Morgan at the heart of defence.
Bloomer made two errors which led to goals, but Morgan believes poor results in his absence are just a coincidence.
"Matt made a couple of mistakes, but that can happen to anyone," said the Northern Ireland youth international.
"I think it's just a coincidence with the results when I don't play.
"When you've played as a defensive unit as many times as we have, you get to know each other's games, so it is disappointing when you are forced to miss one or two matches.
"The Southend game is a must-win one for us. If we lose, the teams above us go further away and we'll be looking over our shoulders."
impsight.co.uk Date: 10/3/2005
Mansfield Town striker Derek Asamoah is finally set to join Lincoln City - and may have already completed the paperwork - this afternoon.
Imps' boss Keith Alexander has been watching Asamoah for quite awhile but only made his move in the past few weeks. On February 28th, Asamoah was transfer listed by Mansfield after an altercation with Mansfield's caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer. The argument was allegedly caused by Asamoah refusing to play in a position that was not his usual spot, although Asamoah's agent denied this.
Palmer later issued a statement - in full here - which confirmed that Asamoah would never play for Mansfield while Palmer was in charge. Today, Palmer was handed the managerial reigns on a full-time basis, which obviously helped seal the transfer of Asamoah to Lincoln.
At the time, Palmer said: "I believe that there is no way back for him (Asamoah) now because he has shown total disregard for the management team, his team mates and the club. And, apart from that he is a centre forward that has only scored five goals with the season almost over which is not really acceptable."
"This is not the first time I have had to speak to Derek about his attitude but it has been the last straw really. I need somebody who is fully committed to the club and his team mates and not just a crowd pleaser. I need somebody who is capable of scoring me 20 or more goals."
Lincoln are also in need of another 20 goal a season striker, and the signing of Asamoah will raise questions among City's supporters, especially in the wake of the Richardson-Toner affair. However, Alexander has been quick to reassure supporters that he has total confidence in Asamoah's attitude. To prove his trust, Alexander has agreed an undisclosed fee for the player, while offering him a contract until June 2006.
23-year-old Asamoah was born in Ghana but began his football career at non-league Hampton and Richmond. He joined Northampton Town in June 2001 and stayed three seasons, making 132 appearances, although he only started 38 matches. During his spell at Northampton, he scored 13 goals.
In June 2004 he joined Mansfield Town on a free transfer where he established himself as a first team regular. Prior to his falling-out with Palmer, he had started 27 games while coming on as a substitute in 7 other matches. Two red cards and five goals were also added to his Mansfield career statistics.
Lincoln faced competition from several other clubs for Asamoah, including county rivals Boston United.
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