Reds Head Coach Lee Johnson addressed the media this morning ahead of his side’s trip to Shropshire to face Shrewsbury Town this weekend.
Johnson gave updates on injuries, transfers, and the general feeling within the squad at the minute as well as which younger players may be ready to step up to the first team squad.
“We’ve had a couple of niggles from the weekend (against Fleetwood).” Explained Johnson. “It’s a case of getting the walking wounded back ready. Josh Scowen has trained non-contact which is good, so I’m hopeful he’ll be available within the next 7-14 days. I’m well chuffed with that it’s earlier than thought.
“Lewin Nyatanga is out injured, he got injured on his knee in a training game. Not sure on Marley Watkins is the honest answer – it was a bad one but it’s settled quickly. It could be two weeks it could be six. The good thing about him is he never loses fitness, everything he does is 100%.”
Johnson confirmed that Reece Wabara had now left the club, meaning the Reds Head Coach feels that James Bree has a chance to shine.
“Breezy (James Bree) has done well. The time Reece (Wabara) has had in the team has helped James, we needed to go through some basics with him. We needed to go to basics on the defending part, and now he’s definitely ready, he’s got a chance to show that.
“Temps (Matty Templeton) is another good prospect for us, he can be a real impact player for us, he can definitely affect the game. Harry White is in good goal-scoring form as well at the minute, we might look to use him off the bench.”
Johnson is expecting some transfer activity over the coming days as well, and gave and update on that front.
“We’ve got one pending so we’ll see what happens today.” Said Johnson. “It’s been difficult, January is always difficult to get that experience. Surprisingly the midfielders have been the big issue for us and centre halves for other clubs.
“We’ve narrowed our market as well because we need the JPT eligibility, we’ve spoke to every club in the Premier League, Championship and Scottish Premiership, as well as the top half of league one. We’re trying.
“We need to strengthen in midfield as we’ve only got Scowen coming back, Hourihane who’s done well but then it’s just young lads, for example Brad Abbott who did well the other day.
“Wabara has left the club, and I have to say he’s been a good lad to have a round. We’ve improved him, the last 5 or 6 games his defending has been so much better, his tackling and blocking of crosses has been good as well.
“He’s so young still so it’s frustrating to lose him, but we’ve got James Bree who has progressed really well behind the scenes. It’s a big chance now for Bree to light his name up, not just on the Barnsley stage.”
Moving onto the match this weekend against Shrewsbury, Johnson was keen to ensure the attitude of the squad was not about “revenge” following the 2-1 defeat at Oakwell earlier in the season.
“They’ve backed Micky, they’ve brought in signings and experience. I’ve watched the DVD’s of both Chesterfield and Cardiff matches.
“You try not to look at it like revenge, we’re a better side now than we were when we lost to them. The Shrewsbury match we dominated the game, if we for example would have had Hammill in that game we would have created more.
“We got done by a sucker punch due to going for the win, but it is what it is, they’ve got new players as have we, it’ll be a tight game but we feel we have enough to get the chances to win.
“We’ve had two wins on the spin in the league, a couple of losses in eight, it is looking up and we’re looking a bit more potent. We have to keep going and make sure we keep our best 11 out there as it’s a match for most teams in the division.
“There’s always potential for a run, if we can keep players in form and get a couple of injuries back, plus a couple of signings, so who knows. It’s about the quality not the quantity. If we can get 14 or 15 quality league one players plus our bright young stars coming up behind them we’ll do well.”