Lee Johnson spoke to the press ahead of this weekend’s home match against Swindon Town.
Team news from the Head Coach is that everyone is fit and available for selection with the exception of Michael Smith as his loan agreement from Swindon does not allow him to play.
The Reds have had their first full week of training since the season began, with no midweek games for the first time. Johnson said that it has been a huge benefit to his squad as it helped the group to get settled.
“This week was needed," said Johnson. "We had Monday off to let players settle. There are lots of new players and they needed to move into apartments or go home and collect their own clothes as we’ve got some living in hotels!”
On how many games there have been so early on, Johnson was keen to stress that this was a positive for his squad and they are all better off for the playing time.
“The lads are fine fitness wise. All the games are now a positive because they have got those minutes in the bag. We’ve been working really hard on communication which is important for them. The younger section of society are good at communicating and I will be picking a team that can do that.”
After Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Shrewsbury so late in the game, the Barnsley Head Coach was keen to keep morale up within the squad and told of how the squad had a behind closed doors friendly match in the week.
“We had a match against Lincoln in the week which I played in myself," he continued. "The reason behind that was to help the midfield with talking to each other. I had detailed conversations with all the midfield throughout the game. They are great players but I wanted to give them that guidance.”
Another positive from the midweek friendly was Ryan Williams playing and Johnson added “Ryan is looking very good. He got 45 minutes and looked sharp, he even scored a goal. Whilst he looks free and fluent, we need to get him involved.”
After what has been a good week of training so far, Johnson knows the results will come in a positive fashion as soon as the team gel properly. “The group are young and new. What we’re doing now is essentially a pre-season. Not in terms of fitness but tactics and integration wise it’s happening now. If the team was together for two years you don’t concede the goals we have and that’s the side of the game we need to fast track.”
Our opposition this weekend are a side that Johnson can see similarities with his own. “They’re a good side with good players, but they have lost some from last season. They have a lot of talented youngsters which is similar to us so it will be a difficult game, but if we do what we know we can do we can get a result."