Lee Frecklington is likely to be out for a few weeks as the Imps look to press on and seize the initiative in the League Two promotion picture.
With a glut of tough games coming up, not least this weekend’s trip to Forest Green, it would seem preferable to have a full team to pick from. That isn’t the case at the moment, with Freck joining Sam Habergham on the treatment table, as well as Josh Vickers who isn’t quite there yet.
It would seem like a huge blow, losing the captain and leader at such an important time, but does it actually give Danny one less headache going into the final matches?
Firstly, a taste of what Danny told Lincolnshire Live this week regarding the former Rotherham midfielder.
“It’s been a nagging issue and we’ve been trying to work through it. It’s a tendon issue and there’s inflammation when he plays. He can play and train, but he can’t back it up and do it regularly. Lee is the type of boy who needs to train regularly because his game is all about sharpness and mobility.
“When he doesn’t train regularly he can’t quite find that sharpness which makes him a really special player to us. We want to try to get his groin right, then get him back on the grass so he can find his rhythm.
“We hope we can have him back for the back-end of the season. If we can have a fit and healthy Lee Frecklington, then it’ll be massive for us.”
There’s a few points to raise on the back of this. Firstly, I think we’ve seen that Freck has struggled in recent weeks. When he’s available, it’s hard not to pick him as the club captain, but in doing so do we leave ourselves open? If he’s not quite as mobile as he could be, that shows.
Leaving him out when he’s fit but not having trained would be the obvious answer, but then talk starts of him being dropped and that spreads quickly. Lee Frecklington is still a League One quality player, perhaps even more so than League Two.
That might sound odd, but there’s a little more time on the ball up there. Not much, but it’s a different game of football and one Freck is more suited to.
For now, we need mobility, we need all-action midfielders willing to put the boot in at one end and a shot at the other. Mark O’Hara showed us he can do that against Morecambe, but Tom Pett is another we can rely upon, as is Michael O’Connor. There’s Bozzy too, that’s four plays chasing a possible two starting places. If Freck was fit, three would miss out.
I’m not championing his injury, not at all, but with him getting fit we’re able to more than adequately cover and evolve. If we lost John Akinde tomorrow, or Bruno Andrade, they’d be hard to replace. However, losing Freck at this stage of the season isn’t the hammer blow it seems.
If he does come back with full match fitness, then we’re going to see the best of him once more, the pre-Crawley form that saw him nipping into the area and bagging goals.
I don’t think he’s been the same since being taken out at Port Vale and you know what? Neither have we. We need him back and he’s now being afforded the time to get back.