Earlier in the week, we talked about how Josh Griffiths would be back for Saturday; there’s a chance two more of our walking wounded could be coming back into the fold.
The Imps faced a strong Huddersfield reserve side yesterday, losing 1-0 to a Reece Brown goal, but there’s far more benefit than a simple outcome to be had. At least two new faces, striker Ben House and keeper Jordan Wright were in action, alongside Hakeeb Adelakun and a handful of others. Two names on the teamsheet will be of particular interest.
The first was Freddie Draper, our former academy striker who has been out due to concussion protocols. it could be argued Freddie comes back into a side where strikers are not a priority, something we wouldn’t have said 27 days ago, but competition for places has increased. Freddie got minutes against Huddersfield, and as we’ve heard from Jez in the past, he’ll likely remain around the first team beyond the January window, rather than head out on loan. As Keith Alexander once said, you can never have too many strikers, and Michael has taken no chances in terms of recruitment. He’ll be delighted to see the youngster back in action, even if his involvement between now and May could be sporadic.
The big news (and it is big news), is that Joe Walsh also got minutes. It’s reported he’s already played 40 minutes or so behind closed doors, and a February return is now on the cards for the defender, who has been sorely missed. On his day, there’s no doubt Joe is one of the best centre backs on our book, if not in the division, and his injury hell must not just have been tough for him but has severely impacted our attempts to get up the table.
It has also been revealed that Walsh’s return has been hampered by Covid, as Michael told local media yesterday. “He’ll definitely have had minutes in him by the time the MK game comes around,” Michael said. “He’s been training now for three weeks. He did have a spell that he missed because of Covid, which was annoying. Without that, he could have potentially been available for this Saturday [against Burton Albion].”
The injury tunnel has been long and dark, with no real sign of light even as we emerged into January, but now the end of the month is closing in, things are finally, maybe, beginning to look up for the Imps.