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Johnson's Striker Struggle For Sunday

1 May 2015

Reds Head Coach Lee Johnson caught up with the press ahead of his side’s final game of the season – Sunday’s home clash with Rochdale (kick-off 12:15pm).

Johnson is without a fully-fit senior striker for the visit of the Dale, with Jabo Ibehre and Sam Winnall ‘touch and go’ for Sunday’s clash.

“Sam Winnall and Jabo Ibehre are 50-50,” said Johnson. “Dale Jennings is definitely out, I know he’s not a striker but he’s a forward player. George Waring is definitely unavailable. Potentially we have none barring young Rhys Oates. We are a bit light in that area, but we’ll solider on. It’s a game where we can afford to experiment but we do want to win the game.

“We haven’t had great results in the last four or five games but there has been circumstances to that and we know it will improve.

“If you look at the last two plans – the game against Peterborough was about demonstrating we have a couple of young players that we’d like to have a look at and see what they’re about. The Bradford game was more of a style change really. We had some good parts of that and bad bits. We wanted to dominate possession, which we did, but we didn’t create enough opportunities.

“It’ll be a mixture of both. We are restricted by a couple of knocks and injuries. We haven’t got any strikers so we’ll have to come up with a formation for that!

“If you look at the Bradford and Peterborough games, you’ve only got to look into the celebration of Luke Berry and the effort that was there at Bradford. Nobody was pulling out of tackles, people were putting their head in. As an individual footballer you have to go out onto the pitch with a mind-set of that you’re on show. You have to go out and show that you’re the best player.”

Speaking of Sunday’s opponents Rochdale, Johnson continued, “I’ve always got on quite well with Keith. Professionally, we want to win the game. We want to do what’s right for the football club and maybe look at one or two (players). If we can sign off with a win, I’ll spend the summer with a smile on my face – happier than if we drew or lost!

“I want to see a couple of people take their chances, not in front of goal, the potential of being firm and set in my mind-set to be in the squad of 18, 19 or 20 next year. I want to see young players maturing, not only in their game but their voice and their body language. I want to see a spirit that I know this Club’s got to support the young spirit and support everything what’s good about the place. We’ve not had too much to celebrate this year, apart from a little run.”

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