Loaned-out Leeds United youngster Robbie Gotts didn’t have the most memorable of debuts for Lincoln on Tuesday night in their 3-1 defeat to Portsmouth at Sincil Bank.

Gotts, 20, joined the Imps on loan on October 15 but was an unused substitute for five League One matches before being handed a start at right-back by Michael Appleton this week.

The Leeds youngster was substituted off in the 64th minute, with Appleton explaining that Portsmouth’s decision to target him led to him being hooked.

As quoted by LincolnshireLive after the match, Appleton said: “They targeted him a little in the second half and were putting diagonal balls on him. That’s why we made the change

“It got difficult for him in that second half, but he’s going to be fine for us.

“He’s a midfield player as well as a full-back. He’s got lots of energy and I’m sure we’ll see more and more of him, and the better side of him, going forward.”

Based on stats by WyScout, Gotts struggled a bit more than Appleton let on.

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Gotts won just five of the 11 defensive duels he was involved in against Portsmouth.

He also failed to make any clearances, won just two interceptions and made seven recoveries.

Going forward, Gotts wasn’t much better.

The 20-year-old managed to get himself a shot on target from his only attempt at goal, although it was a rather tame left-footed effort from outside the area that was easily saved by the Pompey goalkeeper.

Gotts also attempted two crosses into the penalty area but neither of them got very far and were easily dealt with by Portsmouth’s defence.

As for Gotts’ passes, he had a fairly respectable accuracy of 78 per cent.

All three of his passes into the attacking third found a team-mate but only seven of his 11 forward passes were accurate.

Gotts hasn’t played a lot of football this year due to being down the pecking order at Leeds, the abandonment of last season’s Under-23s season and his slow start to life at Lincoln.

We’re sure that someone who’s highly-rated by Marcelo Bielsa will improve once he gets more game-time but Appleton needs to realise Gotts is far better as a midfield player.

After Tuesday night’s defeat to Portsmouth, Appleton might now understand that and play Gotts where he feels he is best.

In other Leeds United news, Graham Smyth has an update on QSI links with Leeds.

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