Reds Head Coach Lee Johnson faced the press this morning for the last time in 2015, ahead of Saturday’s League One fixture against Millwall at Oakwell.
Johnson first gave an update on players leaving the club, whether that was through their contract being up or their loans running out. The Head Coach then updated the list of players he would like to keep at the club and says he will be doing ‘all he can’ to get them to stay.
“Simeon Jackson is going to move on. He’s a great lad and been excellent around the place and consistent in his training and personality, he just needs a run of games, he hasn’t really had the opportunity. He’s got great movement, Premiership standard in my opinion. He’s match fit and ready, he just needs to be guaranteed starts.
“Michael Smith will be going back to Swindon. We had a pre-set transfer in place for him but he hasn’t played as much as he would have hoped. There are times he would have started like JPT games but he couldn’t because of the restrictions on the loan.
“Conor Wilkinson will be going back, I’m disappointed in him if I’m honest. I think he’s got all the talent in the world but his application needs to improve. He could be anything, but it’s up to him. If he improves his ways the world's his oyster.
“Aidy White - I can’t give any news, we’re in a process of seeing if we can extend his loan but we’ll have to wait and see. He’s been good, we’ve only lost one in six starts that he’s played. He’s starting to get match fit and he’s provided energy and pace down the wings.
“Ben Pearson - we don’t know his situation. I know there is interest in him, we’ll have to see if we can keep him. Ben’s had a good season and he’s come on leaps and bounds, he’s maturing all the time. We would love to keep him and we’ll do our very best to do that.
“Lloyd Isgrove - we are hopeful of keeping, again we’ll just have to see. He’s a great kid and a pleasure to work with, I’ve enjoyed him being here and I’m hoping he’ll stay.
“We’d like to keep Reece Wabara, I’m having a chat with him today. He and James Bree are in a good little battle, there’s genuine competition for places.
“Moving forward now we have to make sure we do some really smart work and work well quickly.” Explained Johnson. “We’ve got to do some good work in this window that’s for sure. I’m not ruling out loans.
“We’re in the JPT Area Final so anyone coming in we will need eligible to play in that as it’s so important to us, we want Wembley, so that narrows the market a bit but it’s a hurdle we’ll try to get over.”
The Reds Head Coach gave special praise to striker Sam Winnall, who has scored nine goals this season, but did admit that he had taken a knock against Blackpool which means he’s a slight doubt for this weekend.
“Only Winnall is the slight doubt for Saturday," he said. "He got a series of whacks on the shin, so he’s the only one with a question mark. He was really good in the last time, his form has shot up the last few games and I’m delighted for him to get the goals.
“Twenty goals can be a real genuine target for him. I think he could have had a couple more on Saturday! It’s getting the chances for him, we need to keep getting him four chances a game.”
Moving on to Millwall, Johnson gave his thoughts on the first match of 2016.
“The match will be end to end.” said Johnson. “We look like we’re going to have to go for it and score four in games.
“We’ve conceded too many goals, but to be fair on Saturday the first is a great strike and the second is hand ball so we can count ourselves a bit unfortunate there. There weren’t many mistakes on Saturday which is good.
“I asked the lads to go out and enjoy themselves and they did, I think the fans enjoyed it as well. Millwall are a good strong side, experienced and organised. They’ve got a lot of championship quality, I think they’ll have successful season.”