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Experience Key For Wilkinson

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Lincoln United will this season draw on the experience of Sean Cann, Danny Brooks and Andy Toyne as they strive to gain promotion from the Evo-Stik League South

The Whites trio are all Lincoln-born and their loyalty to the club has been one of the mainstays of manager Sam Wilkinson’s team over the last ten years.

Brooks first turned out for the Ashby Avenue outfit in their Premier Division days and after spells with Grantham Town and Stamford AFC he re-joined his old club.

Brooks said: “I try to pass on my experience to the younger players, for example by letting them know what certain players are like to play against.

“You need experienced players in the squad to help bring the youngsters on.

“I remember when I was 17 when John Wilkinson was manager I was one of the youngest lads in the side.

“I looked up to the older players and said to myself that I wanted to play as long as them.”

Thirty-one-year-old Cann started his career at Lincoln United when he was 18.

He is a naturally gifted player with a tremendous turn of speed. Defenders never relish facing Cann in full flow.

He said: “I remember being a bit daunted by everything when I started out.

“I see my role now as an older player to welcome the younger ones into the team and try to give them confidence.

“We are mainly all Lincoln lads so obviously we are playing for our home city and that makes you want to win even more.

“Coming from Lincoln gives you that extra 5 per cent.

“When you are younger, you tend to be fearless but as you get older, although you know your confidence is still there, you become less arrogant.

“I am 31 now and I never want to stop.

“I have lost some weight over the close season and I am raring to go.

“I will keep going until my legs won’t work!”

Former Lincoln City apprentice Toyne makes up the trio whose experience is invaluable to the Whites.

He made his debut ten years’ ago and after spells with Grantham and Stamford, re-joined the club in 2013.

Toyne is part of the midfield engine room with a keen eye for goal.

Wilkinson said: “Experienced players always bring a level of consistency.

“They set an example to the younger players both on and off the pitch by bringing a certain level of discipline.

“One thing you get when people start turning 30 is they know they haven’t got much time left in their playing careers.

“This makes them as hungry as the youngsters.

“It is good to have young blood but experienced players like Danny Brooks, Sean Cann and Andy Toyne are so very important to any team.”

Wilkinson also announced the arrival of left-back Scott Matthews for his second spell at United.

Matthews started his career as a youth player at Scunthorpe United. After failing to gain a professional contract with the Iron he was released and moved on to Brigg Town.

Subsequent spells followed at Grantham, Lincoln United, Goole AFC, Belper Town and latterly Toolstation Northern Counties East Leaguers Bottesford Town.

After suffering a bad injury, Matthews missed most of last season. However, he is now back in full training and is eager to start playing again.

On his new signing, Wilkinson said: “I’m delighted I’ve signed Scott.

“I’m hoping he gets back to full fitness for the start of the season.

“We have signed a very good attacking full back who has great quality in defending, but also going forward.

“He will fit into the group of players we have and will improve the squad.

“He is only 23 but has a lot of experience in the Evo-Stik leagues.”

Sam acknowledges Scott’s determination adding:

“He’s still very hungry and ambitious to achieve things”.

Peter Hayward

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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