Barnsley Head Coach Lee Johnson is looking forward to the season starting with Saturday’s away trip to Chesterfield.
Johnson only has Ryan Williams as a definite absentee as he explained “Williams is chomping at the bit to get into the side but we have to be patient with him, hopefully he can get out on the pitch soon. We have had him warming up and doing his physio with the group so he doesn’t feel isolated and there will come a time when he needs to push himself but that is not right now.”
Returning to the Tykes squad will be Paul Digby after it was confirmed he is available for selection and competing for a place. As well as Digby returning, new signing Nick Townsend, who joined on loan from Birmingham City this week, could also be involved as Johnson said “We needed to get another goalkeeper in to the squad and John Vaughan (goalkeeper coach) likes Townsend a lot after he worked with him at Birmingham.
"We are looking to loan out Christian Dibble so we had to get another in. Dibble needs games, his career path right now needs him to focus on seeing a potential three points at the end of the week and aiming for that.”
The Tykes Head Coach spoke about how pre-season had gone and discussed his squad in general by saying “We had a very good pre-season with the exception of the second half against Middlesbrough. The squad is very young and we have had some of the best sessions I have ever seen in training, but there has been off days too. I hope they took on board everything I told them and the lads are certainly high on confidence.”
Moving on to the opposition we face on Saturday, Johnson was not taking anything lightly and is well aware of the task his team faces. “Dean Saunders gets his teams well organised and very fit," continued Johnson. "They have lost some players but they have signed a few who we know are decent, meaning they will be strong. The first game of the season is like a cup final, the build-up is massive and it is very easy to be extremely high or low after the match depending on the result. We believe we can win and we are going to be bold and brave to try and get a result.”
Nothing much was given away in terms of team selection as Johnson will keep his cards close to his chest right up until the last minute, but with many different players and options to choose from he sent a message to his squad by saying “Nobody who misses out should be too disappointed. Everyone will play their part as we have so many games early on in the season. It will be a tough opening period but these young lads will relish every minute of it.”