The Imps have secured the services of 18-year-old Freddie Draper for the foreseeable future after he signed a long-term contract extension.
The young striker signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday, going on to make his first team debut in October 2021 against Sheffield Wednesday before joining Gainsborough Trinity on loan last season. On the back of a solid campaign, Draper was nominated for the LFE Apprentice of the Season at the 2022 EFL Awards.
This season he has yet to be seen, having been ruled out with injury. However, it is my understanding he could be on the grass training next week, ahead of a return to action. That will make this evening’s announcement twice as exciting for City fans, who admired Draper for his all-action performances under tough conditions last season.
“I am very delighted to sign a new deal,” he told the club’s official site. “I am thankful Lincoln City have faith in me, and hopefully, I can repay them with that. I just want to show the fans what I can do, play some more games and score more goals.”
Imps director of football Jez George said: “We are delighted that Freddie has committed his long-term future to Lincoln City. He is a young player from our academy with great potential, as he demonstrated last season with his appearances in the first team aged just 17, starting with his debut at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday.
“Freddie knows our belief in him and that we will provide him with the platform, opportunities and pathway to continue his development and take his next steps in professional football. He is one of a very talented group of homegrown young players at the club, and developing homegrown players for our first team is fundamental to our football strategy.”
It is good to see our young talent pledging their future to the club, and Freddie has been mooted as a possible number nine of the future. Whether that immediate future is out on loan or whether he remains her until January is another question, but you’d like to think with Tom’s recent injury that when Freddie is fit, he’ll be a part of the first team picture until we can make moves in the New Year.