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Lee Johnson on Oldham Clash

19 November 2015

Ahead of this weekend’s trip to Oldham Athletic, Barnsley Head Coach Lee Johnson addressed the media about the tough task facing his side.


The return to his former club is one that fills Johnson with optimism about ending the Reds’ losing run but insisted the focus of the game should not be about him.


He said: “It’s not about me, it’s about the players going there and getting a result. It’s massive, everybody needs it and it’s hurting.


“We have to go into the game willing to take that, they have to have the mind-set that they’re going to be the ones to make the difference.


“It’s quite comical and ironic given the scenarios but this is football and I’ll be going there fully focused on getting a result for the team and club.


“I don’t personally hold any grudges against Oldham, I want to go back and do a good job with this club.”


Johnson reflected on his time at Boundary Park positively as the Latics were the side that gave him his break in management.


He said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it, there’s still some animosity afterwards and I still can’t understand it. But it’s the way it is, I should take it as a compliment how passionately the Oldham fans want me to fail.


“That pantomime baddie is always there in football. If you’re getting that stick as a player it means you’re a good player but it’s still there on the managerial side.


“If there is anything aimed at me it’ll take it away from the players and they can focus on the job in hand.”


The Reds Head Coach remains without the injured Josh Scowen for the trip across the Pennines to Lancashire and gave his team news ahead of Saturday’s game.


He said: “We’re not bad now in terms of our injuries and Ryan Williams is back on the training ground. He’s clinically fit and certainly 'lungs' fit, it’s just match fitness and sharpness now but it’s a real positive 

for us.


“Ivan Toney is fine, we just had to give him a couple of extra days but he played well during the period when he was on for 60 minutes and it took it out of him but he’ll be involved on Saturday.


“I want to break the positive records like the wins in a row, but the focus is to get a win on Saturday. If it happens and we lose I’ll be devastated but I don’t think it will.


“At this stage we need to embrace where we are. The initial phase is to get out of this trouble, build some momentum and kick on.


“Our last two performances have been good and what better game to crack on in than this one,” he added.


Ahead of the tricky trip to Oldham, the Reds Head Coach assessed what he feels his side can show and what the Latics have to offer.


“We have good players and go into the game having strengthened," he continued. "If you ask our fans, people won’t be thinking we can can’t go there and win because I think we can.


“They still have a core group that I had there but it’s about us on the day and going there and winning it.


“It really has to be about the performance and if the performance is good like against Port Vale, we’re going to pick up serious points.


“I can understand the fans’ frustrations but there’s no one more frustrated than me but it’s only a matter of time before the tide turns.”


Johnson also confirmed in the week the arrival of Aidan White to add competition at left-back for George Smith and feels White’s Championship experience will add to the side.


He said: “Aidan provides competition for both left back and left wing and George Smith having made 21 appearances already is fantastic, but he hasn’t had any competition.


“He gives us that real versatility to change the shape if we need to. Hopefully he’ll use the experience he has got and get the boys flying around him.


“People need to get going again. It’s that buzz of three points and the feeling that you’re going out to fight for something.


“It’s not a reserve game or a feeling that he’s going to get dropped straight away and we need people with the mentality that they’re chomping at the bit to get us going.”




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