Lincoln City striker Freddie Draper has admitted his future is still ‘up in the air’ as he waits to see if he will be recalled from his loan spell with Drogheda.
Draper has been a huge hit in Ireland, with eight goals and two assists in 20 games. That’s left him third in the leading scorer charts, the only teenager to reach such heights. Drogheda are currently concluding their summer break, a mid-season hiatus during which Draper could be recalled, but with the Imps back in training today and Drogs in action tonight, it’s still unclear if the intention is to bring him back.
The 18-year-old was recently named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Ireland player of the month for May after four goals, including a brace against UCD and an assist for the other goal in a 3-1 win. He is one of only two players to have played in every game this season for the Drogs, and is the first winner of the Player of the Month the team has had since 2014.
There’s plenty of chatter around him possibly being recalled by the Imps. Due to the nuances of the transfer window, if we do not recall him, when he returns in November upon the conclusion of the Irish season, he will be unable to play until January. If we subsequently play him in January, he then couldn’t make a Football League loan move as he would have played for two teams (us and Drogs). If we recalled him now, he could be a part of our pre-season, remain with the club, or go back out on loan.
The Drogs play Dundalk this evening, and Draper admitted he is unclear about his future in Ireland ahead of the fixture.
“To be honest, I’m not too sure,” he told RTE when asked about his Drogs spell. “I’m just taking it a game at a time and focusing on the game against Dundalk, really. That’s all I’m thinking about, and that’s all that really matters at the moment.
“It’s all up in the air right now, and I’m not too sure. I’m just focusing on the game against Dundalk.”
City could recall him this week or next week ahead of their clash with Cork City, and despite Mark Kennedy going over to watch Freddie, he didn’t get a chance to speak to the manager about his time there.
“I didn’t manage to speak to him, but he’s been to a couple of games recently,” Draper said of the head coach. “The loan move has been the best decision I have made so far in my career. It helped me to gain confidence and show everyone what I can do. I knew what I can do; I’m just happy I can show Lincoln and help Drogheda get some points and do as well as I could for them.”
Draper came to the Imps from Derby County after being released from their academy, and he made his first team debut away at Sheffield Wednesday in October 2021. He appeared three times for the club under Mark Kennedy, in the EFL Trophy, EFL Cup, and FA Cup, scoring his first senior goal against Newcastle Under 21s.