The National League is a renowned hunting ground for English Football League clubs to find “hidden gems”.
Gone are the days of players dropping into the National League never to be seen again. Nowadays the fifth tier is almost an extended part of the EFL.
Here are five players who could potentially make the jump to the Football League.
25-year-old Marcus Dinanga plays his football for Gateshead and has scored 12 goals in just 18 matches, equating to a goal every 116 minutes while his expected goals per game ratio is 0.7.
Most of his appearances have come for AFC Telford United, Altrincham and his current club Gateshead. In September 2023 he was awarded the National League Player of the Month after scoring eight goals.
24-year-old Josh Kelly has started 19 games and scored 10 goals for Solihull Moors this term while boasting an xG of 0.5 per game. However, with him being contracted until June 2025, he won’t come cheap.
Before joining Solihull, the striker was with Maidenhead United where he made 128 appearances, scoring 26 goals over six years. During the 2017-18 season, he went on loan to Walton Casuals where he scored an impressive 28 goals in just 40 games.
Third on the list is Woking goalkeeper Will Jasskelainen, who has six clean sheets in just 17 appearances this term, a 35.3% clean sheet rate. The Finn has also played international football for his home country at under 18, 19 and 21 levels. Could the ex-Crewe Alexandra goalkeeper be attracting interest from the Football League?
His brother Emil, a centre-forward, was in the Football League on Blackpool’s books until 2020 and the shot-stopper could follow suit.
Six goals in just 18 appearances is a seriously impressive stat for a centre-back. In 25-year-old Danny Collinge, that is exactly what you get.
This sort of return is bound to have caught the eye of the Football League clubs. He was previously with Dover and made 40 appearances, scoring two goals and the Whites did offer him a new deal before he decided to sign for Barnet.
Rochdale right-winger Sinclair has eight goals in just 16 appearances. Interestingly, the 22-year-old only has a contract up until June 2024 which is bound to alert Football League clubs looking for a goal-scoring forward.
Fun fact: his father is ex-Leicester City and Jamaica defender Frank Sinclair.
All five of these players bring different qualities to the table. Collinge is a rock in defence but is also not shy about getting a goal. Jaaskelainen has experience in the Football League and is very hard to beat.
Then in Sinclair, Dinanga and Kelly, you are getting goal-scoring forwards who could well be the ‘next Macauley Langstaff’ and get an EFL club a lot of goals.