Keeper Ethan Ross has left Sincil bank on loan, joining National League side Weymouth until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old joined the Imps in the summer from Colchester United, having been third-choice in Essex. He played in all of our pre-season fixtures, but was ousted as number one by Alex Palmer’s arrival from West Brom.
Ross made two appearances for the club, the last of which was against Manchester City Under 21s in the EFL Trophy, where he made a late mistake to earn the visitors a draw. He did not feature in the victory at Shrewsbury in the same competition, which essentially signalled the end of his first-team chances.
With Alex Palmer the established stopper, the only way Ross would get a chance would have been through injury, and in that event, he would almost certainly be recalled. In recent weeks, Ross has been conspicuous by his absence on the bench, replaced by youngster Sam Long, of whom the management team have spoken very highly recently.
The situation doesn’t have to be a closed door for Ross, who I thought looked decent in the early stages of the season. It makes sense for him to be playing regular football, especially if we did see Palmer pick up an injury, as he would come back match ready. In the meantime, Long gets the continued first-team exposure, but without the pressure of needing to prove himself by starting games.
There is an element of sadness on my behalf if I’m honest. Ethan is a genuinely nice lad, grounded and down to earth, and my interview with him for the programme was one of the easiest I’d done at the time. He has a certain character about him which I think would be good around the training ground, but at the same time, he is of an age where he needs to be playing games of football.
Ethan has a lot to prove to Michael now. he must go out and make the keeper position his own at Weymouth, and he must impress sufficiently to earn a contract for next season. The chances are we won’t be keeping three stoppers on the books and with Sam’s development, that does make it a tall order for Ethan. even if a contract were not forthcoming, his interests are best served by playing games of football.
I hope he gets game time there, having looked at Weymouth’s squad and their current run of results, I strongly suspect he will be their first choice. It is up to him to prove his quality, keep them in the National League and use it as a springboard to either return here ready for a new deal or prove his worth to another Football league club who need a decent keeper and a strong, likeable personality in the dressing room.
Oddly this article made me think of my ninth birthday, the only time I ever sat in the old Hunters Stand. My Dad took me to see our 0-0 draw with Weymouth a couple of days after and they had a keeper called Peter Guthrie who played an absolute blinder. I’m sure he signed for Spurs not long after. I hope Ethan can be as strong for the Terras as Guthrie was.