25-Year-Old Refuses To Be Drawn On Lincoln City Controversy

Lincoln City welcome back Irish attacker Danny Mandroiu for tonight’s fixture with Oxford, his first appearance since a controversial red card saw his head coach ultimately lose his job.

Mandroiu, who started the season well for the Imps, was involved in an incident against Burton Albion that saw him sent off and the visitors score. They won the match, and after the game, then-head coach Mark Kennedy openly blasted his player, seemingly questioning his attitude.

Four days later, Kennedy left his role at the LNER Stadium and has yet to be replaced. The Lincoln team Mandroiu returns to is in very different form to the one he left – under Kennedy, the Imps had won just two matches in nine, but since his departure, they’re undefeated, with seven points from nine.

That raises question marks as to whether Mandroiu will play, but he was sent out to face the media as his first job back from suspension, where he refused to be drawn on the argument that resulted in the club’s first managerial sacking since 2014.

“It’s been difficult because I’m not playing; obviously, I love playing football, so it’s been difficult with all the changes going around the club as well,” he said in the official press conference. “I just want to apologise for my tackle and letting the supporters down. I’ve already apologised to my teammates. I’ll learn from it, and I’m back now.”

Supporters were clearly keen to hear what the attacker had to say – the video has twice as many views as their last player pre-match interview. However, Mandroiu was not in the mood for lashing out as the former head coach, although he did admit to being surprised at the comments.

“It was a surprise to me, personally, but I’m not going to go and camera and say he’s this and that. It’s football, he has his opinion, he can say what he wants, I’m not going to do that.”

Undeterred, interviewer Rob Makepeace pushed Mandroiu on whether he agreed with any of the comments the former Liverpool teenager made, which included suggesting they’d had multiple conversations about his attitude and that he could ‘just end up as another statistic‘.

“No, I don’t agree with any of it,” Mandroiu replied succinctly.

The Imps go into tonight’s clash on the back of a 1-1 draw with Exeter City and face an Oxford United side second in the division. The two teams have the lowest xG faced in the division and have both built a solid start to the season around being hard to create chances against.

Writer’s View

Danny Mandroiu has the ability to be a top-end Championship player and the way he was hung out to dry after the Burton game was a shock to many Lincoln fans. He started the season well but picked up an injury in early September and hadn’t really got back to match fitness. It led some to ask why he was having a discussion with the head coach at all, a question it seems Mandroiu may have asked himself.

Kennedy is gone, Mandroiu has not, and he’s going to have a big role to play in the Imps push towards a top-ten spot. Tonight, he will almost certainly return. Lincoln are missing Tyler Walker, Ben House and Reeco Hackett, meaning they’re light in terms of creativity. In recent weeks, they’ve had a right back and a central midfielder on the flanks, and whilst it hasn’t been bad to watch, the sooner they get round pegs in round holes, the better.

That starts with Mandroiu tonight, who is likely to be fired up with a point to prove.

 

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