The Imps’ regular keeper Alex Palmer who has made 56 appearances in all competitions this season, has been ruled out of Wednesday’s play-off first leg at the Stadium of Light due to concussion protocols.
He suffered a blow to the head on the training ground and as a result, the club moved quickly to bring in Posh’s knight in shining armour Joe Bursik.
Back-up keeper Ethan Ross was loaned to Weymouth in the National League in January and 18-year-old Sam Long, who has been on the bench since then, is yet to make his senior debut for the club.
Bursik will slot straight into the side for what will be his fourth club of the season after making appearances for loan clubs Doncaster and Posh, as well as parent club Stoke City.
He started the season on loan at Doncaster, playing 10 games before being recalled by Stoke after injuries to regular keepers Adam Davies and Angus Gunn. He made 15 league appearances for the Championship side, keeping seven clean sheets and winning the club’s player of the month award for December.
He was then drafted in by Posh to cover the injury suffered by Christy Pym and was instrumental in getting Posh over the line for automatic promotion in his six matches. Most notably, making a brilliant penalty save from Jayden Stockley against Charlton at The Valley in April.
Posh used the same emergency loan rule that has allowed the Imps to complete his signature. A move that was criticised by several Sunderland fans as well as manager Lee Johnson.
He said: “They’ve certainly signed a good goalkeeper, arguably better than the one that got injured.
“I don’t think their squad or their team will be short. Obviously my immediate focus is on Sunderland, and if I’m honest, I don’t know the ins and the outs there. I know the rules – and I would be very disappointed if any club in this division was able to wrangle the rules, whether that be a Covid situation or an emergency loan situation like this.
“Really, you just have to trust the EFL and the process of what’s gone on. What can I do about it? Whether it’s right or whether it’s wrong, I can’t go and sign a top centre-half, for example, and play him, so for us, it’s about maintaining focus on our solid performances and trying to build on those.”
Similarly, when asked about his side’s poor run of form in April, he responded by saying: “We can’t sign a loan player unfortunately, but we think we’ve got the personnel and we can play in a number of different games.”