In our latest feature of the Loan Watch series, we caught up with the young players that have temporarily left City to gain invaluable experience in their budding careers.
We caught up with Will Bapaga today to find out how his loan spell is going, with the young winger joining National League side Grimsby Town for the season and he began by saying it was key to his development to get experience out on loan even if he has had to overcome some challenges.
“I think this was the time for me to go out and play men’s football, this is an important time,” Bapaga said.
“At the start I was finding it hard because I had Covid but now I am starting to get used to the football and it’s been very good.
“Covid did affect me, and it took me quite a long time to get back to full fitness.
“When I came back from Covid it was hard for me to get into the line up.
“I had to work very hard to get into the lineup as I wanted to give my all but when you physically can’t do it, it’s hard.”
Despite the initial set back Bapaga has managed to find his feet and believes he has adapted well to the league, with the 18-year-old crediting the strong team spirit in the group behind the success his side have had so far this season with the Mariners top of the league.
“I have settled in amazingly, everyone has been good with me and it’s going well.
“The gaffer is a calm guy, and he is a good coach to play under and the team has a good team spirit, and everything is going good so far.
“It took me a couple of games to get used to the league as it is physical, and the ball is always in the air, and I have been kicked around a lot but in every league you have to adjust.
“Everything is going to plan right now; I’m scoring and I’m playing now and we are doing very good in the league.”
Bapaga has featured five times so far for Paul Hurst’s side and has scored in their last two matches, victories at home against Dover Athletic and away to Altrincham, to see the Mariners reach the summit and was overjoyed to get off the mark but he has had to learn fast with picking up his first red card in the 3-2 victory at Moss Lane, with City keeping an eye on how he’s getting on.
“It was one of the best moments I have felt so far.
“It was quite surreal, the first one is always the hardest one to get, but once you get one goal they all start to kick in.
“At the moment I just want to take it game by game, but I obviously want to score more goals and get a few more assists.
“I had a Facetime call with Luke (Tisdale, Under 23s coach) about how my season is going and what needs to be better.
“It was a strange red card yeah and it’s annoying but football is full of ups and downs so I’ll go again."