Walsall Football Club are delighted to announce that striker Freddie Draper has joined the Club on a season-long loan from Sky Bet League One side Lincoln City.
The 18-year-old forward, who turns 19 later this month, joins the Saddlers having enjoyed a fruitful and compelling run with League of Ireland side Drogheda United earlier this year.
During his time in Ireland, the teenage forward found the back of the net eight times in 21 games, with seven of them coming in his final 12 games for the club. That fine finish to his time with Drogheda saw him pick up the Player of the Month award making him the youngest player to do so in the league since 1999.
Despite only being in Ireland for such a short period of time, Draper leaves Drogheda as the joint fourth top scorer in the division, only three goals off the top scorer Chris Forrester who has 11 to his name.
The young striker made his professional debut for Lincoln back in 2021 as a 16-year-old, coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday and would go on to make a further eight appearances in all competitions that season for them.
Draper is now hoping to continue the fine form he was in with Drogheda and is excited to link up with the Saddlers.
“It was a move that I really wanted to do,” said Draper. “It is the next step up for me and I am happy that it has gone through and I can’t wait to get started.
“The loan with Drogheda was a brilliant experience and something that I needed. I am happy I went over there and luckily I was able to show everyone what I could do.
“I am a goal scorer and I am happy that I could score goals and hopefully I can score some goals at Walsall.
“The Head Coach spoke about how he wants the team to play and it suits what I want to do and me progressing in the next step of my career.
“It was one of those conversations where after it finished, I knew Walsall was the right club for me and I now want to help the Head Coach and the team as much as possible and I really can’t wait to get started.
“I want to get a good run of games and score as many goals as possible. I want to help the team do as well as we possibly can in the season. I want to score a lot of goals, that’s the main aim.”
Head Coach Mat Sadler believes that Draper is an aggressive and hungry striker and is different to what is already in the squad and he is excited to work with him.
“Freddie has had a fantastic time out on loan with Drogheda in Ireland,” began the Head Coach.
“He picked up the Player of the Month award last month for league and he is going to be high on confidence coming here. He knows where the back of the net is and probably could have scored more goals whilst he was there as well.
“As a player, he is very hard working, he is a bit of a throwback in terms of the way that he plays. He wants to ruffle feathers, he works extremely hard to chase things down, he is a pain in the way that he puts his body in and backs into players and creates chances for himself.
“He is a bit of a throwback centre forward and he really keeps the defence on their toes. It is tough to get around him and he tends to disrupt the back line.
“He adds a little bit of something different to what we currently have in the building but he also compliments what we have currently got as well.
“He is a really bright player and we want to thank Lincoln for the work they have done in allowing us to have him and for choosing us to be the side who are going to develop him this season.
“Lincoln had a lot of teams interested in acquiring the services of Freddie and we are very fortunate that they have chosen us to be the team that he comes to. He is someone that I am excited to work with.”