Lincoln City boss Michael Appleton has indicated that star player Brennan Johnson will remain with them until the end of the season.

Nottingham Forest have the option to recall the 19-year-old from his loan spell as they continue to battle relegation this season.

Johnson has been in fine form for the Imps this season, scoring five and assisting two in 14 League One appearances this season.

The winger proved his importance to the team on Boxing day as he scored twice in the emphatic victory over Burton Albion as Lincoln climbed to top spot.

Losing such an influential player would be disastrous for Michael Appleton and Lincoln, who are trying to earn promotion to the Championship for the first time since 1998.

But the boss is confident that he will remain at the LNER Stadium, indicating that Johnson is happy at Lincoln.

Regardless, Nottingham Forest have another young winger making a fast-track to the first-team.

Alex Mighten, 18, plays a similar role to Johnson and has impressed Chris Hughton in recent weeks with some bold performances.

Recalling Johnson would mean splitting minutes between two talented young players, something not in the best interests of either player.

And Appleton echoes this sentiment, telling LincolnshireLive he is confident that Johnson will remain an Imp.

“There’s a break clause in all loan contracts in January. We’re fairly confident that we’ll be fine. We’ve had constant dialogue with Forest,” Appleton said defiantly.

“We’re not going to take that as gospel – I’d be naive to do that – but we’re fairly confident.”

Tyler Walker was on loan at Lincoln last season from Nottingham Forest and a similar situation played out. Forest decided to recall Walker at the end of the window, leaving the Imps without time to replace him.

Appleton says he has assurances that it won’t happen again as a recall deadline was inserted into the loan contract.

“We tried to get it [the deadline] as early as we possibly could, so by the second week in January we’ll know what’s happening with all the loans.”

Lincoln do not play in League One until Saturday when they face AFC Wimbledon, where they hope Brennan Johnson will be in the lineup.