Town will need to handle the son of a true Ipswich icon at Lincoln... and he already has history against his dad’s old club
PUBLISHED: 11:55 23 October 2020
There will be a familiar name on the team sheet when Ipswich Town take on Lincoln tomorrow.
The name Brennan Johnson may not mean too much to the majority of Town fans but, mention his father David and plenty of blue eyes will light up.
We know Johnson Snr as a powerful, quick striker who was capable of bullying defenders, getting in behind and finding the net with real regularity. He did so 62 times in an Ipswich shirt, following his arrival from Bury in November 1997, netting six goals in his first seven games in blue and going on to be part of the side which won promotion at Wembley 20 years ago.
The younger Johnson, born just a few months after his father’s departure for Nottingham Forest in 2001, has his father’s smile and eye for goal but they are very different players.
Brennan is his own man, treading his own path, though it is beginning at Nottingham Forest, just where his father’s career came to a premature end due to injury and from where the youngster is in the early weeks of his first senior loan.
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He’s a forward combining the skillsets of both Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop, with Lincoln using him on both the right and left of a front three so far this season. The 19-year-old’s best position, though, is as a No.10.
He’s got history against Ipswich Town, too. Anyone who was at Portman Road on April 15, 2019 will have seen what he’s all about as he crashed in a hat-trick for Forest’s Under 23s, including a stunning free-kick. That means Brennan now has as many Portman Road trebles as his dad, with all three of those goals coincidentally coming past Harry Wright, the son of David’s former Ipswich team-mate, Richard.
He’s a long way from the Under 23s now, though.
The Championship restart in June saw him make his first league start for Forest, having made substitute and cup appearances periodically prior to the shutdown, and he was called into the full Wales squad for the first time during the last international break.
His career is only going one way, with this loan at Lincoln the perfect opportunity for him to get vital first-team football at an important moment in his career.
That’s started well, too, with Johnson scoring his first professional goal in the Imps’ 2-0 victory over Plymouth on Tuesday night. He won the penalty for Jorge Grant’s opener, too, while also teasing the Pilgrims with dangerous crosses from the right and also coming close to scoring following a run which saw him burst from inside his own half before having a shot saved.
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Imps boss Michael Appleton, a friend of David from their time together in Manchester United’s youth set-up in the 1990s, is clearly pleased with his acquisition and has been impressed with what he’s seen so far. So have the Lincoln fans.
“He’s going to bring real quality to us, not only as someone who can assist goals but someone who can score goals as well,” Appleton said.
“I think his best position is a 10, but with our options at this moment, it’s going to be difficult for us to do that.
“It will evolve because he can play either side, he can play as a nine. He’s not going to be a nine like Hopps (Tom Hopper), but he can play in that position.”
Seeing his son start against the team where he is so fondly remembered will be a big moment for David, even if he’s not able to be in attendance due to the current restrictions.
For Ipswich’s sake, though, the hope must be both Johnsons aren’t celebrating too much come full-time tomorrow.
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