Colin Larkin happy to be wise old sage to next generation at Lincoln City
It is astonishing to think that a player of Colin Larkin's calibre was in danger of becoming another victim of football's crumbling economic climate.
The former Mansfield striker's job search was well documented in the summer having featured in the Daily Telegraph's analysis on players looking for work.
Although Larkin possesses the quality to grace the Football League, he now finds himself out of The 92 Club as a result of the accountants trying to control their wage bills.
Their loss has been Lincoln's gain, however, not least for the young players who are learning from this master craftsman's extensive career.
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At 30 years of age, Larkin has much to teach and thankfully for him the new generation in the guise of Conner Robinson and Vadaine Oliver are listening.
"From an early stage of my career, I've always taken it upon myself to talk to the young players," explains the former Wolves forward.
"It's something I've done at every club I have played at and since I came to Lincoln, I've carried that on.
"I've been part and parcel of the game for 15 years so I like to think I can pass on some advice because we have some very good young players here.
"I try to speak to Vadaine and Conner, who have both done fantastically well and also some of the other young lads.
"Crucially they all listen to what I have to say because they have willingness to learn which is fantastic."
With Robinson and Oliver flourishing, the future at Lincoln certainly seems bright, despite a stuttering start to the Blue Square Premier season.
The latter in particular has been a revelation and he followed up a stunning performance at Telford with another excellent demonstration of his talent against Hyde.
He has scored two goals in as many starts for the club and has already been compared to a young Les Ferdinand by his manager David Holdsworth.
Larkin says he has been impressed by former Sheffield Wednesday striker's impact.
"How Vadaine plays on a Saturday is how he trains," said the 30-year-old.
"He is like it every single day. He kicks people for fun and you saw in the opening stages of the game against Hyde on Saturday how he smashed the central midfield player.
"It was not intentional, but challenges like that set the tone for a game.
"He won every single header and he is so, so strong.
"When he first came here, there is no doubt the fans would have not known much about him, but they do now.
"In the game against Telford and the game against Hyde he was unbelievable.
"He needs to do that every week because if he does, then he will score goals.
"And for me, he is a dream to play off because of the way he plays – he's such a handful that he commands a lot of attention which frees up space for others.
"It's the same with Conner as well. He came off the bench against Gateshead and scored a fantastic goal.
"He's coming off the bench and getting experience.
"He's a livewire and in training his finishing is unreal. He is certainly one for the future."
Lincoln will hope their young guns will fire them to a second successive victory at Tamworth this weekend.
Coincidentally, the fixture is around the same time as last year's clash which ended in a 4-0 defeat and signalled the end of Steve Tilson's reign as manager.
Lincoln are four points better off than they were at this stage last year, despite the manager David Holdsworth operating with a budget that is half as much as his predecessor.
With Lincoln also having crippling injury problems depriving them of six first team players, the Imps boss is hoping for a change in fortunes.
One thing has never in doubt though and that is the strength of character and a record of scoring a goal in every game so far this season.
Larkin is hoping victory over Hyde, which forced Lincoln to dip into their reservoir of spirit, can be a watershed moment of the campaign.
"Nobody can dispute the fact that we have shown great character in recent weeks and especially on Saturday against Hyde," he said.
"It could have been easy for us to see out the game, leave it at 2-2 and settle for a point.
"But we didn't. We went for it and come away with a deserved win.
"To be fair that has epitomised the way we have been in recent weeks.
"We've played well, created stacks of chances but have not come away with results we have deserved.
"Looking back, I think we should be in the play-offs at the very least given our performances.
"But now we have those three points we can go into the game on Saturday full of confidence.
"Hopefully we can produce the same performance, get the same result and go on a little run."