Danny Mandroiu makes his return after a four-match suspension this weekend, and head coach Michael Skubala has revealed he trusts his mercurial attacker to come back into the fold.
The former Shamrock Rovers attacker has had a mixed season. He wowed supporters in August, impressing with goals and assists, but suffered a decline, culminating in his red card against Burton. Mark Kennedy’s reaction to that earned him the sack, and just a couple of months later, he was sent off again.
The dismissal in the 1-0 defeat against Bolton was infuriating for supporters, as the Imps looked like holding out for a draw until Mandroiu got his marching orders. That left him with a long road back, four games until eligible, but longer for some sort of redemption in supporter’s eyes.
However, he is now ready to return, and it was revealed this evening there’s no issue with him being considered for inclusion.
“Danny’s under consideration, he’s been training well, but the group’s doing well, and the squad’s doing well,” said Michael in his pre-match press conference.
BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Michael Hortin asked if there was a trust issue there, which Michael (Skubala) denied.
“I trust him. Every player makes mistakes. I think Danny knows the mistakes he’s made. I think you can make a mistake once or twice, but I don’t think you can make the same mistake again by being sent off.”
The positives came with a thinly veiled warning about future conduct, perhaps more subtle than the bull-in-a-china-shop approach of the previous head coach, but still with a very firm and clear message.
“I think he’s clear about that. I’m clear about that because, more than anything, it lets the group down. We have to accept that it happens, and that’s not being negative or passive
“There’s not so much of a trust there. I think it’s more of a mentality on the pitch of being really aggressive and being really I want them to be front-footed, but not being stupid.”
Mandroiu is unlikely to come straight back into the first XI, but he’s certainly going to be around the squad. That’s a massive positive as well – despite the suspensions (seven games this season), he’s a talent, and I can’t help but feel he would relish the chance to work with a player like Joe Taylor, full of quick runs and Freddie, peeling off defenders and creating space.
Hopefully, we’ll see him make a cameo on Saturday towards the end of the game, and we can get another redemption story, not quite as dramatic as Haks, but one with a more permanent happy ending.