Lincoln City Manager Issue Freddie Draper Recall Update

Lincoln City manager Michael Skubala has issued another update in the ongoing debate around striker Freddie Draper.

The 19-year-old is on a season-long loan with League Two side Walsall, where he currently has ten goals from 18 starts. That loan includes a recall option, and there’s been a lot of debate around whether the Imps will recall their player.

Whilst Draper has been scoring regularly for Walsall, the Imps have struggled for goals. Their leading scorer, Danny Mandroiu, has four penalties as part of his five-goal haul, and their next highest scorer is a right wing-back. They’ve been without forwards Tyler Walker, Reeco Hackett and Ben House since September because of injury and are currently being spearheaded by 19-year-old Jovon Makama.

That’s led to calls from supporters for Draper, a product of the club’s academy, to be recalled. He has played League One football for the Imps before, favoured over loanee Dan N’Lundulu by Michael Appleton in the 2021/22 season. Unlike his predecessor, Mark Kennedy, new head coach Michael Skubala admits he is a fan of Draper and seems to suggest he’ll be back in Imps colours soon.

“We’ve been speaking to Walsall,” he said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Northampton’s visit to the LNER Stadium. “He’s scored 10 goals in League Two and could be one of the options. 

“I like Freddie. I’ve spoken to Freddie myself. I like what he’s about. I think he can add to us.

“I think you’re probably going to see Freddie, maybe, come back into the building if we think it’s completely right.”

Whilst that does seem pretty conclusive, in a ‘definitely, maybe’ kind of way, he did offer a slight sliver of hope to Saddlers’ fans, who are eager not to lose the youngster.

“But again, there are jigsaw puzzles going on behind the scenes that I don’t want to speak about. It might be that we’re able to get somebody else in, or it might be (that we’re) not, and then Freddie needs to come back to us.

“It’s a jigsaw puzzle with Freddy, but we’re in full communication with Walsall about that.”

The Imps host Northampton tomorrow, then face Blackpool on New Year’s Day before a week-long lay-off courtesy of not being in the FA Cup. With new signing Jack Moylan available in January and Reeco Hackett due back around the first team very soon, the Imps will have attacking options as they look to push up the League One table.

Writer’s View

The Freddie Draper saga rumbles on. Every press conference, Michael Skubala is asked about the youngster, and each time he is, it looks more likely that Draper will be recalled.

The Imps need attacking options. They’ve done well to remain in the top ten without three of their best forwards, and whilst Makama and Blackburn loanee Jack Vale have put the effort in, neither have the attributes needed for Skubala’s system.

Draper, robust and strong, does have those attributes, and it will be fascinating to see if the former Drogheda loanee will find himself pitched back into League One action, two years after making his professional debut for the club.

 

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