Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton has revealed he is optimistic that Nottingham Forest will not recall striker Brennan Johnson from his loan next month.
Johnson joined Lincoln on loan back in the summer transfer window, and has since impressed for the Imps, scoring six goals and providing two assists in 19 appearances in all competitions, including a brace in his side’s 5-1 thrashing of Burton on Boxing Day.
Those performances had led to some speculation that Forest could recall Johnson to The City Ground in January to boost their options as they look to get out of trouble in the Championship relegation battle.
However, it seems as though Appleton is hopeful that that will not turn out to be the case.
Speaking to Lincolnshire Live about the situation surrounding Johnson, the Lincoln manager said: “There’s a break clause in all loan contracts in January. We’re fairly confident that we’ll be fine. We’ve had constant dialogue with Forest.
“We’re not going to take that as gospel – I’d be naïve to do that – but we’re fairly confident.”
Indeed, it seems Appleton will know whether or not he gets to keep Johnson at Sincil Bank for the remainder of the campaign pretty soon, as he went on to reveal: “We tried to get it [the deadline] as early as we possibly could, so by the second week in January we’ll know what’s happening with all the loans.”
Prior to his move to Lincoln, Johnson had made eight appearances in all competitions for Forest, including four outings in the Championship towards the end of last season.
You can understand why Appleton would be keen to keep Johnson at Lincoln, and it would seem to make sense for Forest to allow that to happen.
Johnson does seem to be benefitting from his time at Sincil Bank, where he does seem to be improving as a player, which ought to benefit Forest in the long term.
Indeed, with Forest manager Chris Hughton seemingly reluctant to even play Lewis Grabban and Lyle Taylor together, it is hard to imagine Johnson getting much game time if he does return to The City Ground, meaning a full season playing with Lincoln would probably suit him more.