The development of young players has been at the heart of Michael Appleton’s Lincoln City tenure and few have benefitted more from his guidance than Anthony Scully.
The Irish winger, who is also capable of playing through the middle, joined from West Ham United in February 2020 but really came to life last season, scoring 16 times and adding nine assists.
Scully has been in hot form again this term, bagging 11 goals and three assists in 19 games so far, and his performances have turned the heads of a host of clubs in the Championship.
Football League World exclusively revealed earlier this month that Barnsley, Blackburn Rovers, Millwall, and Preston North End have all been watching him closely this season.
With the January window a little more than five weeks away, we could see some of the other clubs that have shown an interest in the past – such as Middlesbrough, Reading, and Huddersfield Town – make a move for the 22-year-old as well.
Scully signed a new deal back in February that runs until June 2023, meaning Lincoln can afford to stand firm in any negotiations over him in January – though if significant offers come in during the winter window they’ll have a decision to make.
Appleton admitted recently that interest in some of his key players was not out of the question but was bullish that “the squad will be a lot stronger come January 2nd”.
He told Lincolnshire Live: “There’s a couple of areas that we’re looking at. We’re mindful of the fact that we’ve got a couple of players who are doing really well and may attract interest from other clubs.
“You’ve always got to be prepared and cover your back just in case things happen.”
On the topic of players like Scully receiving interest from elsewhere, he added: “The reality is, that’s the model we’ve tried to create.
“I think we’ve got a lot of value on the pitch. There are three or four players who are being continually assessed by other clubs at a much higher level than us.
“That’s what we want, what we expect, we just need to make sure that we can get that level [as a replacement] or hopefully even better.”
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The Championship clubs hoping to continue scouting Scully may have to wait for another chance to watch him in the Imps side as Appleton revealed that he may be unavailable for tonight’s game against Portsmouth.
Injuries have kept the 22-year-old out at points this term and ahead of the midweek League One clash, the Lincoln boss said: “With the injuries he’s had recently, we’ll see where he’s at. He fell awkwardly [against Doncaster] and was feeling a little bit sore.”
Assuming he can return to full fitness as we enter December, you’d imagine they’ll be plenty of sides with an eye on his form heading into the transfer window.