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Lee Johnson on Gillingham

24 September 2015

Ahead of the clash with promotion chasing Gillingham, Lee Johnson spoke the media about what to expect from the Kent-based outfit.

Following a tough test against Blackpool last weekend, Johnson said the squad is almost back at full strength for this Saturday’s match.

“We’re looking okay," he said. "We don’t have any serious injuries from the game at the weekend,”

“Dan Crowley should be back for us.

“He is training today which is good, hopefully we’ll come through today with no problems and should be back in the squad for Saturday.

“We aren’t quite full strength because Ryan Williams is still not there yet, he’s up and down like a yo-yo with his groin. 

"One minute he’s fine, the next he’s struggling and it’s something we’ve got to get to grips with because he could be an important player for us.”

After a busy start to the season, the Reds Head Coach feels the extra time spent on the training ground will be beneficial to the side moving forward.

 “It’s been good,” he added. “It’s always good when you can get that extra tactical or fitness work. It’s important we keep those squad members or those who have not been playing regularly topped up and ready to go.

“We’re going to need them and we may make changes this weekend and we need to know that they can last the 90 minutes.”

Some fans have questioned Johnson’s style of play in recent games, describing it as negative, but he quashed the doubters, saying: “I think they’re wrong,”

He explained: “We don’t set up to be negative, we set up in different shapes and formats this season trying to find the right blend.

“There’s a natural instinct for people to say, and I’ve heard it on the radio, ‘why is he playing one upfront?’ but we set up a game to win.

“We don’t set up to draw, we set up to win, and in our group at this moment in time, I believe that our best opportunity of winning the games is to play three in midfield.

“I say that formations don’t matter,” he continued. “If you’re playing to the style and the philosophy, I call it 5-5-5 because we’re trying to create numerical advantages all over the pitch.

Despite leading the division in the early stages, the Gills come to Oakwell sitting in third place in the table and Johnson expects another tough test. 

He said: “They’ve had a good start, and it’s another classic case of a group that’s been together a while, they know each other’s individual games, been solid and have scored a few goals.

“They are a good side and have Bradley Dack who I really like as a player, Cody McDonald is good at this level and Luke Norris has been doing well.

“But we are at home and we are going to take the game to them.”

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