Striker Drinan has become a forgotten man at Ipswich Town… but could 2020 be the year he finally gets his chance?
PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 December 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Striker Aaron Drinan could be set for a return to the Ipswich Town fold at the start of 2020.
The Irishman has spent the first half of the season out on loan in the Swedish second tier with Stockholm-based GAIS, with his time at the Superettan consisting of eight appearances without finding the net.
He returned to England at the conclusion of their league season in November but has been unable to feature for Ipswich's Under 23 side due to red tape, given his loan ran window-to-window from August until January.
But he's eligible to return to action in the New Year, with manager Paul Lambert thought to have kept a close eye on his progress.
Indeed, he could be involved for the Blues when they travel to Exeter on January 4 for their last-16 tie in the EFL Trophy.
Drinan is yet to make a competitive debut for the Blues following his arrival from Waterford, Ireland, in January 2018 but has been an unused substitute on five occasions.
All of those came under the management of Mick McCarthy, before he was loaned to Sutton United by Paul Hurst and then back to Waterford by Lambert at a time when Ipswich were battling relegation from the Championship.
The 21-year-old, who has represented his country at Under 21 level, was praised following his arrival in 2018, with McCarthy saying: "He can compete in the Championship. Whether he can compete week-in, week-out and be the number nine, or number one striker - that won't happen immediately.
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"But he can have an impact in the Championship."
Captain Luke Chambers added: "When he starts I'm looking forward to seeing him because he has been kicking me left, right and centre and treading on my toes in training. He'd run through that wall if he had to.
"He's definitely one to look forward to seeing play and I'm looking forward to seeing him involved as soon as possible.
"I think he's done brilliantly in training and he has shown improvement almost every day. He's an exciting prospect alright."
Drinan's contract at Portman Road is set to expire in the summer of 2021 and, having become something of a forgotten man over the last year, he has work to do if he is to ultimately earn a new one.