Sports: Matt Rhead on staying at Lincoln City, getting into coaching and playing his beloved Stoke City

Sports: Matt Rhead on staying at Lincoln City, getting into coaching and playing his beloved Stoke City

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Football’s closed season usually coincides with speculation linking Lincoln City striker Matt Rhead with a move away from the Imps.

In the early days of Danny Cowley’s reign, the popular striker handed in a transfer request, citing the long commute from his native Stoke as an issue.

However, Rhead had already been identified as a key man by the Cowleys, who worked incredibly hard to keep him at Sincil Bank.

Their perseverance was rewarded as Rhead signed a new contract, keeping him at the club keeping him at the club until summer 2018, while a solution was reached allowing him to train once a week at home.

More exit speculation surfaced in the summer of 2017 and then in the early months of the following season when he failed to hold down a regular first-team place.

However, a one-year extension, signed in December 2017, tied him to Sincil Bank until this summer.

With his contract running down and having not been a regular in the side which claimed the League Two title, further speculation over his future was inevitable.

Rhead certainly had offers from elsewhere, but decided Sincil Bank was the right place for him, both as a player and as he plans for life after his playing career comes to an end.

“There were options for me to play more regularly,” said Rhead.

“But the fact of the matter is that I enjoy my time here and I’ve had great support since day one.

“Travelling was an issue at first, but it’s not any more. The gaffer’s sorted that out and he’s good with me.

“I know where I stand and I know I’ve still got value to the team.

“It’s been a tough season [personally] because everyone wants to play, but the bigger picture is that we’ve come away with a medal and a championship that I’ll never forget.

“It’s a team game. It’s not about individuals and that’s what the gaffer always stresses – that everybody will play their part and I think everyone has done.”

Danny Cowley and Matt Rhead
Danny Cowley and Matt Rhead
(Image: CameraSport – Andrew Vaughan)

At the age of 34, Rhead is naturally planning for the end of his playing days.

“I’ll start my UEFA B [coaching badge] soon,” he said. “I’ll enjoy that and it may be something after football for me.

“I love football, I enjoy every minute and the longer I can stay in it the better.”

 

Most footballers can be forgiven for not relishing pre-season, but it can’t come soon enough for Rhead.

A reason for that is because one of the Imps’ opponents in the summer will be his beloved Stoke City, who will travel to Sincil Bank on Wednesday, July 24.

“I’m a massive Stoke fan,” admitted Rhead. “To play the team in pre-season that I’ve supported as a kid will be a great opportunity for me to see some of the players who I go and support now.

“It will be a good game and hopefully we will put on a good show.”

 



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