Reds Head Coach Lee Johnson spoke to the press ahead of a busy festive period of football, starting with an away trip to Greater-Manchester to play Bury.
Johnson firstly wanted to start with team news ahead of the match and revealed he had been dealt a blow this morning as on-loan striker Ivan Toney had been recalled by parent club Newcastle United.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s part of the rules and regulations.” Explained Johnson. “I think they’ve had a couple of injuries, I had a nice call this morning explaining and apologising about why they’ve done it.
“He’s their player, it’s one of those things we’ll get on with it. It’s an opportunity for someone else to come in and do well.”
On the flip side of the Ivan Toney news, Johnson revealed some good news regarding another loanee at the club, Kevin Long.
Johnson continued, “Kevin Long has extended his stay so I’m pleased with that. He’s a big lad, quick and decent on the ball and he’s enjoying being here, I’m delighted to keep him for another month.
“He brings experience. He’s a calming figure around the place and on the pitch, he makes very few mistakes, he’s solid in his game and he’s competent on the ball.”
The Reds Head Coach revealed there were no definite injury concerns going into the match, but did give an update on the fitness of Ryan Williams.
“We had a couple of ‘niggles’ from the Under 21 game so we’ll have to see how they are.” Said Johnson. “Ryan Williams came through okay again, he scored a goal that was given offside when he was on by three yards, and he looked bright. "I think he’s fit enough to start, it’s just how he will be after.”
As the busy Christmas period approaches Johnson was keen to ensure his squad remained focused, and sent a message to the fans.
“Wigan was a set-back, it was a difficult game. We started off well and had a bad ten minutes in the first half, but we had them camped in for long periods of the game, we were well in it. The second goal was a complete killer and we have
to make sure we cut those errors out.
“We will go again, we prepare the team right and do everything we can. Our performances have turned, we need to get through to January to make two or three quality additions. It’s always tough after a loss but we go again, we set the team up for Bury.
“I’m disappointed where we are in the league, but delighted with the JPT. I would love to take everyone to Wembley and win it, that would be amazing. The team preparation is fantastic and you go into what is a great period.
“It’s intense for the players and the staff, there’s a lot to get right, and quickly. I think we’re taking 1,200 to Bury, our away support has been fantastic this year and the players thrive off playing away when we have a good crowd.”