City Academy graduate Freddie Draper has signed a new long-term contract with the club and, as the next stage of his development, will be joining Sky Bet League Two side Walsall on a season-long loan.
The 18-year-old centre forward has made his mark while on loan with Drogheda United in the League of Ireland, scoring eight goals and chipping in with three assists across his 22 appearances, as well as earning rave reviews for his performances.
Draper has 12 first-team appearances for the Imps to his name, having initially made his debut in October 2021.
He said: “I’m thankful for this opportunity, I now want to keep improving and showing Lincoln City what I can do.
“The loan with Drogheda was an experience I needed. I had to grow up really quick and recommend it to any young player. I’m now looking forward to continuing my development at a good level with Walsall.”
City director of football Jez George said: “Freddie performed to a consistently high level throughout his time at Drogheda, scored goals and made a lot of clubs sit up and take notice, not only in Ireland but also in League Two.
“It is great credit to Freddie that he has created this opportunity of a loan at Walsall, which will be so good for his long-term development. For an 18-year-old to lead the line with such aggression and physicality, create so many chances for himself and others, score so many goals and handle becoming a ‘marked man’ so well shows why we rate Freddie so highly.”
George thanked Drogheda United for their support for Draper, and Elicha Ahui, as they spent the opening half of 2023 on loan with them.
He added: “I am sure that Freddie and Elicha will also join me in thanking manager Kevin Doherty, assistant Daire Doyle and everyone connected with Drogheda United for how brilliantly they looked after them both.”