The Imps today signed Republic of Ireland U21 international Sean Long on loan until the end of the season, and he agreed to do a quick interview for your favourite Imps blog.
It was this blog that first floated the idea that Long might be an Imps target, and the full-back will now remain with City for the remainder of what is hopefully a successful promotion campaign. After kindly agreeing to a chat, he first told me first about his back ground in the game.
“I’m from Dublin and started playing with Cherry Orchard before moving to Reading at 17. I’ve had loan spells at Luton, Braintree with the Cowley brothers, and Cambridge United.”
He made his Reading debut in the Capital One Cup at Scunthorpe, and in 2015/16 played 22 competitive games, firstly for Luton in League Two and then with Braintree in the National League. He even appeared in the two legged defeat to Grimsby Town before returning to Reading and signing a new contract. The difference between Football League and the National League isn’t that great according to Sean.
“There’s not an awful lot (of difference) to be honest. There are a handful full of teams where they may have more quality as they have the budgets to bring in players of a certain calibre, but overall I feel it is very similar.”
Having had two loan spells in the Football League it stands to reason the youngster would have other offers on the table this transfer window, and it is no surprise what (or who) helped convince him Sincil Bank was the place to be.
“I had some offers from clubs who are also run by great people however the chance to work with the Cowleys again I felt that was the best option for me. I spent a great two months with them last season and learnt a lot so I’ll be looking to do the same again.”
I think the fact a young player from a good academy with international experience can learn from two former PE teachers says an awful lot about the abilities of our management team. They said today that Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy has forgotten more than they know. I think the fact a talented young footballer feels he can learn from them both shows that not to be entirely true.
Although our managers were part of the lure, Sean is also impressed with what he has seen of our club so far.
“I haven’t had a lot of time to have a look around but from what I’m told Lincoln is a lovely place. The stadium itself is fantastic with a great set of supporters.”
Danny and Nicky say they only ever bring in players that can add value, and that they sign personalities first and able footballers after that. So what qualities will Sean bring to the table?
“I hope I can continue what this team has started so far this season by giving good performances. As for my aims I’m not looking to far ahead but I would love to be part of getting the club back to the Football League and maybe a cup or two on top.”
If Sean Long had grabbed a textbook entitled ‘the right things to say in an interview’, I suspect he would have come up with the quotes above (although I think two cups might be pushing it). Praise the managers, check. Praise the fans, check. Praise the stadium, check. We know though that these are not just words, our managers do have something to offer young players of any level, our fans will prove on Saturday they’re as good as any outside the Championship and in truth our stadium is fantastic.
It is a good time to join Lincoln City, and with the lack of cover at full back I expect us to see Sean in action very soon, perhaps even in front of Ipswich’s biggest visiting contingent since 1992. I can see Bradley Wood being nudged back into midfield giving the talented Dubliner a great chance to immediately endear himself to fans.
The FA Cup is all about fairy tales, so what price would you get on a young player from the Championship going out on loan to a National League club, and in his first game helping secure a win over a Championship side? The papers would be all over it, we might even get more than 30 seconds on Look North.
It’s got ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ written all over it.
Thanks to Sean for taking the time to answer my questions, and welcome to Sincil Bank.