Grimsby Town Football Club are pleased to announce the signing of exciting young winger, Will Bapaga on loan from Sky Bet Championship side, Coventry City until the end of the season.
The 18-year-old becomes Paul Hurst's second signing of the day, joining Alex Hunt in strengthening the Mariners' options ahead of the start of the 2021/22 campaign.
Bapaga came through the Academy system at the Sky Blues, making his professional debut for the club on August 10th 2019 in a 0-0 draw against Bolton Wanderers as an 87th minute substitute. The winger went onto make a further three appearances in the 2019/20 season, all of which came in the EFL Trophy, two as a starter. Bapaga continued to be used sparingly last season, making a total of four appearances in all competitions.
We caught up with Will this afternoon at training, following his first training session with his new team mates and has already made a positive impact on his new manager.
"I found the session good, we were focussing a lot on shape with the boys ahead of Saturday and the start of the season next week so it was a good session to be part of.
"I spoke to the gaffer after the session this afternoon and he said that he really likes the way that I play football. He said he likes how direct I am with the ball and that's pretty much how I play my game, so I'm happy. I am a direct winger who likes to go outside, cut inside and take shots on goal. As a team, I think we have a really good chance to get promoted back to League Two and that has to be our target and for my own individual targets, I just want to play as many games as I can and impress with my performances".
Manager Paul Hurst also spoke exclusively to GTTV, confirming his efforts to secure Will's signature back in January.
"I think the important thing with Will was getting him in and getting him settled. He's a young player but he's had a bit of first team experience and certainly training with the first team back at Coventry and he's a player we believe can bring us the ability to win games, to go beyond players and can be an exciting player for us.
"We enquired about him in January and was kind of greeted with a message of him not being available as he was in and around the first team, which you think yeah okay that's fine and move on and when his name was brought back up to us through an agent, so at first I thought it was just somebody trying to drum up a bit of interest in him but I know Mark Robins who was a former team mate and manager whilst I was at Rotherham but this time, it was a much better conversation from our point of view.
"They wanted him to come out and get some more first team experience, so from that point it went quickly. From the player's point of view, he was more than happy to come to Grimsby, as was Mark. He knows me and knows that we will look after him and give them the information and feedback they require and hopefully he can get plenty of game time here. There are no guarantees here, but we know he has got the ability that can get people off their seats and that's what I want to watch on the sidelines. There's more to the game than that, but like I said, he has got some real ability and if we can help develop his game, he is going to be an incredible asset to us.
"We have got some players who can play in a number of positions including the wings but with Will, he can play on either wing but also as a number ten behind a striker, so he gives us a bit of flexibility as well but he would definitely see himself as more of a winger and so would we naturally. I like the fact that we have a couple of lads who can play wide and inside and he brings even more competition. All of our players will get their chance and it's not as though that when one comes back into the fold, they're at the back of the queue, it's the opportunity for the player to show they deserve that starting position and that's in every position. He's come from a good club, who play some good football so I feel he's come to something similar, albeit a couple leagues lower down.
Welcome to Blundell Park, Will!