Adelakun Departs on Loan to Doncaster

Analysis as Hakeeb Adelakun leaves City on loan to Doncaster Rovers.

Hakeeb Adelakun has left Lincoln City on loan to join League Two side Doncaster Rovers.

Adelakun, who has featured 25 times this season, joined the Imps in 2021 on a free transfer following his release from Bristol City. The winger was a key part of a big summer of recruitment as he joined as a replacement for the departing Brennan Johnson and Morgan Rogers, following City’s play-off final defeat to Blackpool the season prior. 

Adelakun made his debut off the bench against Gillingham before scoring his first league goal for the club away at Cambridge United in a big 5-1 win. During his first season at Sincil Bank, he made 23 League One appearances, although he featured just once after the 15th January. He featured for 8 minutes in the final game of Michael Appleton’s time at the Imps, scoring the winner off the bench.

The following season, Adelakun featured just twice under new head coach Mark Kennedy before leaving on loan to League Two strugglers Gillingham. During his time with the Gills, he featured 31 times, scoring just once in the FA Cup against Premier League side Leicester City.

Credit: Graham Burrell

Adelakun stayed with the Imps into the 23/24 season as he failed to secure a move away from the club in the summer. After not being involved in pre-season, and seemingly not part of Kennedy’s plans, Adelakun remarkably returned to the City matchday squad against Carlisle. 

Adelakun stayed with the Imps into the 23/24 season as he failed to secure a move away from the club in the summer. Despite not being involved in pre-season and Kennedy’s plans going forward, Adelakun remarkably returned to the City matchday squad against Carlisle and came on at half-time, replacing Ali Smith.

The winger initially impressed during his return to the side, and following Kennedy’s departure, he put in his best performance in a City shirt. Appleton’s return to Sincil Bank always promised to be a cagey affair and Adelakun stunned his previous manager with two goals in a 3-1 win for Tom Shaw’s Imps.

City’s director of football Jez George said: “With Hakeeb being out of contract at the end of the season, this is a good opportunity for him to play for a manager that he knows and put himself in the shop window for the summer.

“Hakeeb leaves Lincoln City with everyone’s respect for the professional way in which he has conducted himself in difficult circumstances. Everyone wishes him well for this loan and his future career.”

Credit: Graham Burrell

Adelakun made his final start in a 2-0 defeat against Blackpool, and now joins Doncaster Rovers on loan until the end of the season. The move signals the end of Adelakun’s time at the Imps with his contract reportedly set to expire in the summer. Many will agree that it hasn’t worked out for the winger at Sincil Bank, but this season he’s been a model professional and worked hard given the injury situation in the final third.

It’s clear this is the right decision for all parties after a tough time for Adelakun at City and this move gives him a chance to earn regular minutes under Grant McCann – someone who he knows well from their time together at Hull City. 

I wish him all the luck in the future as good spell could really help him kickstart his career, and hopefully earn a permanent contract next season.