Phil Parkinson has pulled off a spectacular transfer coup after agreeing a deal for the permanent signing of highly-rated Crewe Alexandra midfielder Josh Lundstram.
As Alty fans will clearly remember, Josh made a huge impact on loan a couple of years ago when he slotted in seamlessly alongside skipper Jake Moult at the heart of a highly-effective Alty midfield and played an integral role in the push for promotion to the Vanarama National League.
Now he’s heading back to Alty - and this time it’s for keeps as a fully-fledged Robin!
Both parties have agreed a deal for Josh to become an Altrincham player - the terms of which are undisclosed - and the move is still to be ratified by the FA and the National League.
But what a breakthrough for Phil as he continues to waste no time putting together the club’s first-ever fully professional squad.
Reflecting on the latest addition to a group that is rapidly beginning to take shape, the Alty boss enthused: ‘Josh Lundstram is a player everyone at the club will be delighted to see wearing the red and white stripes once again - this time on a permanent deal.
‘The 23-year old former League One Crewe player will complement the other midfielders perfectly. When making this switch, we always had to think who could fill the hole when Moulty left. I don’t think we could have got a better player and person to come in to do this.’
There can be little doubt Alty midfield legend Moult would give a nod of approval for the Robins’ latest capture after Lundstram made such a favourable impression with the way he retained possession and used it.
Writing in his Captain’s Column in the Robins Review at the time, Jake sang his new midfield partner’s praises and backed him to go on to make a lasting impact on the game at Football League level.
Fulfilling that prophecy in the red and white stripes of Altrincham is now the challenge, both for Josh and the Robins, and who would argue it won’t happen after the strides the club have taken under Phil and Neil Sorvel and the lift everyone will get from the arrival of yet another prized product of the famed Crewe youth set-up?
Alty have borrowed other players in the past whose form has encouraged fans to plead for the loan to be made permanent, but few have struck a chord with supporters quite like Josh did after arriving on a temporary basis in January, 2020.
His debut could have gone better, a 2-0 defeat at Gateshead on January 18th, but he began to make his mark, as Alty won 2-0 at home to Bradford (Park Avenue) a week later, and by the time he had reeled off 13 straight starting appearances over the remainder of the season, he had made the number eight shirt his own.
It’s a measure of the regard Phil held him in that when it came to the National League North promotion play-offs, a time when any manager needs players he knows he can count on, Josh played in all but 24 minutes of the three matches.
He was substituted in the 66th minute of the opening game against Chester, after picking up a yellow card, but he was on the pitch throughout after that as the Robins won at York City and followed up with an unbearably-tense but ultimately-unforgettable 1-0 triumph in the final at Boston United.
Welcome back, Josh - it’s great to have you here again, and we all wish you the very best for a successful and rewarding stay at The J.Davidson Stadium.