Notts County manager has made his first summer signing ahead of the 2017/18 campaign with the recruitment of Lincoln City winger Terry Hawkridge.
Prior to signing a two-year deal at Meadow Lane, Hawkridge spent almost two years with the Imps, having initially joined on loan from Scunthorpe United before agreeing a permanent contract in January 2016.
The Nottingham-born 27-year-old scored four goals in 39 appearances last term, as Lincoln secured the National League title and reached the FA Cup quarter finals.
Editor of Imps’ fanzine The Stacey West Blog Gary Hutchinson has kindly agreed to answer a series of questions about Notts’ new arrival so you know what to expect when he pulls on the black and white stripes next term…
What can Notts fans expect from Terry?
Terry is a traditional ‘tricky winger’. He operates best on the left, although he can switch to the right if need be. He’s quick and isn’t afraid to take players on when the need is there. He’s one who likes to get the crowd off their feet, in terms of technical ability in our top three players of last season.
Does he work hard defensively?
He worked hard once he picked up the Cowley Brothers’ method. During his first season he wasn’t renowned for getting back, but as last season developed he got better and better at tracking back. He can fill in at left back as well, he did on a couple of occaisons in the FA Trophy. I think as he is now 27 and becoming more experienced, you’ll see defensive play become a bigger part of his game.
Four goals is a fairly poor return in a title winning side. Was this down to not getting chances or not taking them?
He wasn’t a regular starter, and he isn’t well known for his potency in front of goal. One thing I always said about our players last season was this: if they were the whole package they wouldn’t be in the National League. Terry wasn’t a great finisher, he has a good finish in him, but we didn’t see it as much as we’d like. He scored twice on the final day against Macclesfield to give us the title, but other than that he wasn’t a goal threat. He did have a great game against Oldham in the FA Cup, scoring with a really well taken shot and providing some wicked crosses.
How impressed were you during his time with Lincoln?
I liked Terry, but for me he was always a fringe player. I like wingers, I like players who take defenders on and in Nathan Arnold, Josh Ginnelly and Harry Anderson we had those in abundance. Terry was perhaps our fourth best winger, and although I could never fault his attitude or his application, he always sat in that band of players that I was content with, not that I’d come home raving about. He did grow as a player last season though, and I firmly believe you have signed him at the peak of his career.
Was he an integral part of your amazing season or just one of the pack?
He was one of the pack, no doubt. I described our players in three bands, and he was a band two. The top band were the likes of Arnold, Woodyard and Habergham, the 50 games a season men that were usually always playing. Terry came in the second band with the likes of Alan Power, dependable and you know what you got with them, but ones that never forced themselves into the first team permanently. Terry was taken off 19 times from 37 starts last season, the highest ratio of any player, even Matt Rhead. I’d say we have eight or nine players that were integral to our title win, but Terry was not one of them. I don’t want that to sound like I’m playing down his contribution, Terry is a nice lad and a good footballer, but we offered him a one-year deal. Luke Waterfall on the other hand was offered a two-year deal. Both players will be 27 when the season kicks off. Make of that what you will.
Should we be excited about him signing for us and why?
That depends on the current state of your squad. If you don’t have players who get on the ball and run with it, then yes, Terry is an exciting prospect. He’s clearly joined Notts with a point to prove and he’s ‘coming home’, so to a degree I think you should be. Don’t be underestimated by the fact he’s come from the National League, believe me there is some real quality down there, and my belief is the top seven or eight teams would have been play-off challengers in League Two. Just because Terry has crept up from the fifth tier is no reason to dismiss him as a weak signing. Judge him on what he does for you once he’s settled, because he does have a trick or two.
Were you surprised you only offered him a year’s contract? The extra season was presumably integral in his decision to sign here.
It didn’t surprise me entirely. Danny Cowley is a very shrewd man who knows exactly what he is doing. Had Terry Hawkridge played 50-odd games and scored 10 goals, there would have been a two-year deal there. A lot of our game plan is based around flair wingers, over the season we’ve had five wide players turning out for us, and I’d expect one or two to come in and aid Nathan Arnold. The two-year deal was a factor, but don’t do him a disservice thinking he’s chased the security. He has a point to prove to the people of Nottingham and that too was a factor in him leaving.
Any highlights from his time with the Imps that stand out in your memory?
The two goals against Macclesfield that won us the title, specifically that last goal. I don’t cry often, but that goal brought a tear to my eye. I’ve mentioned Oldham in the cup as well, he played exceptionally well that night, weighing in with a goal. He also had a good game the night we beat Dover 2-0 at the Bank. You guys won’t know much about Dover, but they’re an inhospitable lot with a chip on their shoulder. He scored towards the end of the game with us already leading 1-0, and that made the result safe. I thanked my lucky stars because we’d been under the cosh and I hate losing to them almost as much as Grimsby.
What kind of reception do you think he’ll get next season when our teams meet?
He’ll get a good reception. Terry is a good, honest pro who works hard and is good in the community as well. He’s respected around Lincoln, not just for what he does on the pitch but for his personality off it. Imps are split on whether he’s a big loss or not, but nobody will have a bad word to say about him.
Does he have any nicknames or chants?
He inspired a legendary twitter thread:
I might start an album labelled ‘Terry Hawkridge’s individual celebrations in groups’ what a man. pic.twitter.com/c3LsbOCB7m
— Jack Mulhall (@JackMulhall92) October 2, 2016
It gave us lots to focus on during the season. He didn’t have a chant as he was in and out of the side, but he was nonetheless a great personality to have at the club.