Imps Duo Depart On Loan

Credit Graham Burrell

Sam Long and Sean Roughan have left the Imps, joining League of Ireland Premier Division side Drogheda until the end of the season. 

It’s a surprise loan, but one that I think is hugely beneficial. It’s a decent level in terms of being Ireland’s top flight, and to send two away helps in terms of settling in. Hopefully, both can get lots of game time and push for a first-team squad place next season. With the Irish season starting next month and running through until the summer, it gives both players a chance to get not only time on the field this season, but build towards a level of match fitness right up to the start of the next campaign.

Sam Long made his debut against Plymouth Argyle at the weekend and has six senior appearances for the club, with three clean sheets. He’s highly rated at Sincil Bank, and is expected to use this loan as an opportunity to get senior minutes under his belt, with a view to challenging for the number one jersey next season.

As for Sean Roughan, he burst onto the scene last season, appearing at left-back and turning in some confident displays. He’s been in and out of the side since, suffering from injuries, but also attracting the attention of Chelsea and Southampton.

Credit Graham Burrell

Imps Director of Football, Jez George said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for both players. We know the people at Drogheda, we know the league and we respect the level. There could not have been a better outcome for each of them in their individual circumstances.”

“Sam moves after making his league debut and needs to be the number one, playing every week. Sean will join him at the end of his rehab from a minor ankle operation which is expected to be at the end of February. Therefore, the fact that this league starts in mid-February and continues throughout the summer, means that we can maximise their number of games right up to returning to Lincoln for pre-season. With their games on Friday evenings, this allows our staff to watch them play live.”

“Sam demonstrated his huge potential again on Saturday, with such an assured League One debut, and Sean did so 18 months ago, starting last season in the team and performing so well in wins against the likes of Oxford, Ipswich and Charlton. This loan will give them both the opportunity to play every week, it will be a fantastic experience for them, and it will put them in the best possible position to come back to fight for a place in our team next season.”

“I would like to thank Kevin (Doherty, Drogheda’s Manager), Daire (Doyle, Drogheda’s Assistant Manager) and everyone at Drogheda for the way they have conducted themselves in the last few weeks in discussing this option, how they will look after both players, how much they wanted to sign both players, our access to watching training, and their belief in both Sam and Sean. We are really looking forward to seeing how they both progress over the next four to five months.”

Credit Graham Burrell

This is a huge move for both players. Sean Roughan is one that I know fans have been eager to see more of, and he’ll definitely benefit from a full season playing senior football. The same goes for Sam; it’s encouraging that instead of going to the National League South, or lower, he’s going out to play top-flight football.

Drogheda, known as The Super Drogs, won the League of Ireland First Division in 2020, and appeared in the Europa League as recently as 2014, when they were defeated 2-0 on aggregate by Malmo. Their current squad includes former Cambridge man Gary Deegan, who appeared for Coventry City in the Championship.