Head Coach Previews U's Trip
Ahead of this weekend’s clash with Colchester United, Reds Head Coach Lee Johnson spoke to the media ahead of what he described as another ‘Cup final’.
After beating Wigan Athletic to progress into the area final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Johnson is anticipating another big performance from his side.
He said: “It does feel like this game is more important than the JPT and you have to keep your eyes on the prize which is winning and getting to Wembley.
“Moving onto Saturday, it feels like a cup final the way I see it and we want to go down there and win."
Colchester themselves have been struggling for points and are without a League One win since October 20.
The Head Coach feels there is an opportunity for the Reds to capitalise on this but that they need to be wary of their opponents’ attacking threat.
“Our focus is going and winning this important game because if we can, it becomes a good little run, not just in terms of performances but results as well,” Johnson added.
“They are very good going forward but they’ve conceded a lot of goals this year. They have very dangerous players, Callum Harriott is on fire, Marvin Sordell, Gavin Massey is a player I like.
“It’ll be a tough game and is a long journey but the boys are up for it. They’ve been buoyed by the performance and result from the weekend and if the lads can administer the game plan, we’ll get chances and hopefully win the game.
“We need a clean sheet. Our work-rate in the last five or six games has deserved one, our focus will be to put our bodies on the line in order to keep one.”
Winger Adam Hammill also committed his future to the Reds until the end of the season and striker Ivan Toney extended his loan spell with the Reds from Newcastle United.
Johnson hopes there is more business to seal in January and hinted that recruitment plans have already been put in place.
He added: “We’re working, talking to the clubs, gauging their situations but we’ll be looking to bolster our squad during the January window and preparations have started already.
“There’s players that have done well and some have done okay and some we expected more from and will inevitably move on.”
Ryan Williams is also bidding for a start during the festive period after returning to full fitness, but Johnson could lose his services after the winger was selected to represent Australia in an Under-23s tournament.
He feels that Williams will have a part to play and hopes to keep him at Oakwell, despite his country’s call.
“The Christmas period is important for Ryan Williams and he is ready and looking bright and will undoubtedly get a start.
“We could still potentially lose him because he’s been called into the Olympic Under-23s side for Australia but we could be losing him for a month.
“We think there is a chance to appeal because the tournament doesn’t take place during a FIFA date and the club may have more power in this situation.”
Watch Lee Johnson's pre-match press conference on Barnsley PlayerHD below.