27-year-old Hakeeb Adelakun has refused to make a commitment to his future as he enjoys time away from parent club Lincoln City.
Adelakun, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is currently the second-highest scorer for the Red Imps but was loaned out to League Two side Doncaster Rovers in January. He’s made quite an impact at the Keepmoat, bagging a goal and lending an assist as they beat Tranmere at the weekend.
He’s worked with manager Grant McCann before at Hull City and played on Saturday with a smile on his face. However, he refused to make a commitment around his future, after being asked by Doncaster Free Press what it held for him.
“It’s just about coming here and playing,” he said. “I was happy to come here. The main thing now is being happy, playing lots of games, and contributing to the team for the rest of this season.”
The London-born winger was seemingly on his way out of the LNER Stadium last summer; he hadn’t featured under former boss Mark Kennedy and struggled during a loan spell with League Two side Gillingham. He wasn’t given a squad number with a move pending, but he pulled out of a loan late in the window.
Injuries to the Imps front line meant the winger came in from the cold, scoring twice against Charlton in the Imps’ last home win prior to this weekend’s 2-1 victory against Fleetwood. However, once the window opened, the Imps added firepower to their side, and Adelakun was once again out in the cold.
The winger started his career with West Ham but made his name at City’s Lincolnshire rivals Scunthorpe United. His form there earned him a move to Championship side Bristol City, but he struggled to make an impact at Ashton Gate. Loan moves to Rotherham United, and McCann’s Hull City followed before Michael Appleton snapped him up in 2021, following the Imps’ defeat in the League One play-off final.
He played 57 times for the Impos, scoring seven goals, but 25 of those appearances came in this campaign.
Adelakun’s Imps story is something many of their supporters have enjoyed watching. He wasn’t just frozen out this season – Michael Appleton cut him from the team in 2021/22 after he was caught drinking from a water bottle with play going on against Carlisle in the EFL Trophy – the Cumbrians scored from the move and eliminated the Imps, semi-finalists the season before. Mark Kennedy came in, and despite Adelkaun starting a couple of games, he was again cast aside, only to rise like Lazarus this season when the club really needed him.
His chances of a new contract at Lincoln are seemingly zero, but his future may well lay at Doncaster. McCann feels like the sort of manager who can get the best out of Adelakun, and it remains to be seen if that continues. If it does, he could well be pulling on Doncaster colours when the season kicks off in August.