Brennan Johnson has been a standout performer for Lincoln City since joining the Imps on loan from Nottingham Forest in September.
The 19-year-old made eight appearances for Forest in all competitions last season, looking bright in his cameos under Sabri Lamouchi.
As the young midfielder looked to continue his development, he moved on loan to Lincoln in September in search of regular game time.
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The Wales international has since become a key player for the Imps, scoring two goals including a fabulous solo finish against Forest Green in the FA Cup.
The future of Johnson has been a hot topic of late, with Chris Hughton revealing that he is keeping tabs on Johnson’s progress and will monitor his situation in January.
Lincoln boss Michael Appleton has also admitted that he is concerned Forest may recall the midfielder in January, but would that be a smart move?
Here, we take a look at two pros and two cons to Forest recalling Johnson…
Pro: Firsthand view on his progress
Hughton is obviously yet to work with Johnson, and his only knowledge of the player will have been through analysis videos.
There’s so much you can learn about a player from Wyscout or footage from games, so recalling him would allow Hughton to get a firsthand view of Johnson and properly learn about the player.
He is a homegrown player who has massive potential, and he could become a key player for the Reds next term.
Con: Potential lack of game time
Johnson was sent on loan to Lincoln in September for one reason – regular game time.
He showed glimpses of his quality last season, but the next step was undoubtedly to play games week in, week out.
He’s got that at Lincoln and is clearly thriving. He is playing his best football, and is really benefiting from playing every single game.
Would it do him any good if he were to be recalled by Forest just to sit on the bench every week?
This happened with Tyler Walker last season after scoring so many goals for Lincoln, but he rotted on the bench in the second-half of the season for the Reds.
Pro: A potentially cheap replacement for Knockaert?
Forest have the option to sign Knockaert permanently in January, however it remains to be seen how much that would cost.
After signing for Fulham for £10million last season, it’s unlikely that he’d come on the cheap.
If Forest are unable to sign Knockaert permanently or even extend his loan spell at the City Ground, then Johnson would be a cheap replacement, which could be beneficial if Hughton wishes to invest in other areas of the pitch.
He’s playing out wide for Lincoln rather than in a central position, which he played in under Lamouchi, and could be an exciting option for the Reds.
Con: Another player to add to the squad
Although Johnson doesn’t have to be registered and added to the Reds’ 25-man squad due to his age, he’s still another player to add to a congested squad of players.
Forest have so many names on the books, and if anything, their main priority in January should be to trim the squad rather than add to it.