Lincoln City manager Michael Appleton believes that West Bromwich Albion could be planning to recall goalkeeper Josh Griffiths in January after refusing him permission to play in the FA Cup for the Imps this weekend.
The 20-year-old is enjoying his first season at League One level after spending the 2020-21 campaign in the division below with Cheltenham Town.
Griffiths was a key part of Michael Duff’s promotion-winning team, playing in all but two league games for the Robins and keeping 21 clean sheets in the process.
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The youngster then stepped up a level for the current campaign, with former Baggies player Appleton using his links to Albion to secure his signature for the season after loaning in Griffiths’ more experienced team-mate Alex Palmer the previous year.
Even though he has played in every single league game for Lincoln this season, Griffiths was not allowed to feature in their 1-0 FA Cup win over Bowers & Pitsea this weekend with the stopper’s parent club blocking his participation.
With the future of England international Sam Johnstone unclear at The Hawthorns, Appleton thinks that his loan star could be needed in the Midlands during the second half of the campaign.
“Yes, but we’re in a position now, if that does happen, where we’ll have things boxed off,” Appleton told LincolnshireLive when asked if he is expecting Griffiths to be called back by West Brom in January.
“Come that time [the recall deadline in January], we’ll be more than covered in terms of the goalkeeping position.”
The way things are going for West Brom you can imagine that Johnstone will be looking at potential Premier League options in January – it’s a league he deserves to be in.
With his contract running down this summer it’s the Baggies’ last chance to a get a fee for him, but in turn that has a knock-on effect at Sincil Bank.
Griffiths is quite clearly a talented goalkeeper and he’s getting crucial EFL experience at a very early age.
The fact that West Brom refused him permission to play in the FA Cup though does suggest that they have plans for him in the second half of the season so it wold be no surprise to see Johnstone cashed in on and Griffiths to return and fight for a starting spot.