‘Hopefully I Can Stay Here’ – On Loan West Brom Star Loving Life With Lincoln City

Credit Graham Burrell

Imps’ keeper Josh Griffiths has been in superb form this season, but there’s a real chance he could be recalled this winter.

He was stopped from playing in the FA Cup win against Bowers and Pitsea, and is likely to remain out when we host Hartlepool in a couple of weeks’ time. The fear is Sam Johnstone could be sold by West Brom, making Griffiths’ return inevitable for the Baggies. Despite having that possibility on the horizon, the mature young keeper admitted it isn’t something that is unsettling him in the build-up to this week’s busy schedule.

“It’s not unsettling at all, it’s out of my hands,” he told me in an interview this weekend. “Either way, I won’t have a say in what happens, I just have to control what I can control. I see stuff, as you guys do, but that’s out of my hands. It’s definitely not unsettling, what happens happens, but hopefully I can stay here until the end of the season and achieve something with this group.”

Credit Graham Burrell

Imps fans across the county will be delighted to hear he would like to remain at the club, and those wise enough to order a programme for Saturday’s game can read more about his time here at Lincoln.

One aspect of his stint with Lincoln that is different for the 20-year-old is his status as the senior keeper; he’s older than Sam Long, and despite being younger than Archie Mair, has far more senior experience.

“Last year, I had Scott Flinders working with me who is a top keeper and really experienced; I could bounce ideas off him and it was good for me, but this is the first year I’ve been the ‘senior’ keeper if you like. I just hope the lads can look to me and take things from my game that helps them develop their career.”

“It isn’t strange anymore; maybe at the start of the season it was, but not now. I look at Sam and I see he’s a great keeper and he’s going to have a great career. I just try to help him in any way I can and hopefully he looks at me and sees we’re similar age-wise and sees he can be playing in the league soon, which I have no doubt he will.”

I was speaking to Josh ahead of the Accrington game this weekend, one of three games in twelve days that we’ll play at home. Despite the home form not always producing wins, Josh confesses he enjoys playing at our home stadium; whatever we refer to it as!

Credit Graham Burrell

“It’s amazing playing at the LNER Stadium, or Sincil Bank as I know some fans call it. That’s probably the wrong thing to say! The fans are great, you have the 617 up in the corner who are always loud, but around the stadium, you can feel the crowd’s energy.

“I definitely think it gives us an edge; I know we haven’t picked up too many wins at home, but we have had some decent results and it’s great to know we’ll have lots of fans cheering us on.”

Indeed, we could have plenty of fans cheering us on; the club are doing a friend for a quid scheme and cheap tickets for kids. Who knows, you’re eight-year-old might not be into football now, but he could have his interest sparked watching our England Under 21 stopper in action. After all, Josh didn’t get into football until he was ten, so there’s no such thing as a late starter.

“Truthfully, I didn’t get into football until I was ten or eleven. I didn’t really enjoy it, I played at five or six and just stopped for a while. I came back into it as a keeper and found my love for it. I’ve stuck at it, ten years or more later I’m still here so it’s gone quite well.”

Indeed it has; let’s just hope it goes well for him over the next six months in the colours of Lincoln City, not the dugout at the Hawthorns.