Richard O’Donnell is delighted to have been appointed First Team Development Coach at Lincoln City following a lengthy spell with Hull City.
The 34-year-old explained his role at LNER Stadium, discussing how he will help bring through young players into the first team environment: “I will work with the first team but there will also be a close relationship with the players who are out on loan and in the academy with a chance of stepping into the first-team environment.
“I have settled in really well; it is probably made easier with the personal relationship I have with the manager. I have known him for the last 16-years really closely. The players have all taken to me well, so I am looking forward to working with them. There is a good atmosphere around the place with all the backroom staff as well.”
O’Donnell who had spells with Barnsley and Scunthorpe United as a youngster went on to speak about his transition into coaching.
“My career was ended prematurely with injury, but I had the upbringing in the environment. For the number of years I have been in my job, I will be able to have that relationship with both academy and first-team players. After my injury, football was all I knew, it was my first love and best next thing to playing is coaching,” said Richard.
“I did my coaching at an early age; I had my A License at 21 so that’s been to my name for just under 14 years now. It was during my coaching pathway when I met the manager. I was 18 when we both did our UEFA B license together, 16 years later the manager has invited me to come and work alongside him which is a privilege.
“We are of a similar mentality, so it is a great opportunity and a no brainer to come in and work at Lincoln alongside Michael Appleton and David Kerslake. They both have brilliant experience and it is a great opportunity for me to come in and learn under coaches of their calibre.”
The First Team Development Coach went on to discuss the direction the club is looking to go in: “Here at Lincoln we only have an Under 18’s with no Under 23 side which would usually give the lads an extra couple of years.
“At the club now, we will look to speed up that process up with loans. It is very important because men’s football is the opposite end to the spectrum compared to academy football.
“They don’t get exposed to the physicality of a proper football game until they are out on loan or in the first team. The expectation and demand are higher at the men’s level, the young players will also develop from personal feedback their teammates will give them.
O’Donnell finished by speaking about first team manager Michael Appleton having a track record for being able to develop young players: “We want to make sure we take the club forward in the direction we want to be.
“The club are very lucky to have someone the calibre of Michael Appleton, he has a brilliant track record of producing and developing young players in the first team.
“There are young lads in this squad who belong to the club and are in on loan, and we have been putting extra work in on the training pitch.
“We have worked on technical aspects such as finishing drills, and that is massive because young players can’t just come into training, do what we do, and then leave, they aren’t like the experienced pros.”
Imps fans can keep up with City's home fixture against Rotherham LIVE on WeAreImps iFollow with all the action being streamed domestically and internationally, with commentary coming from BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sport’s team of Michael Hortin and Steve Thompson – For details click HERE.