Show nation what you are made of, boss tells players
Reporter: SIMON SMEDLEY
Date online: 09 September 2013
ATHLETIC boss Lee Johnson can’t wait to show off his talented team on TV tonight.
It’s Sky Bet League One Lancashire derby-day as Athletic head to Preston for an eagerly-anticipated clash, being screened live on Sky Sports (kick-off 7.35pm).
The visitors go into the match in good nick, having thumped Shrewsbury 4-1 in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
That came just three days after Athletic had been sunk by a controversial last-minute Tranmere penalty-kick in what was their last league game.
Now the spotlight will be firmly on Johnson’s new-look squad this evening, and he is relishing the prospect.
The Athletic boss, who has Charlie MacDonald available after three games away, said: “It’s great for us to have these games because it means there’s lots of interest in us. I’m certainly keen to let the world know what we’re all about, and the lads are as well.
“The lads will want to enhance their reputations, and what better way is there to do that?
“They are young lads making their way in football, a lot of people are talking about them, but by the same reckoning they won’t be going out there tonight thinking about themselves individually.
“It’s up to me to hammer home to them that it is a derby so we need to maintain a good tempo throughout the game.”
johnson is expecting lots of travelling support alongside the team: “I like the fact there is so much interest, and the fact that people are willing us to do well. Our fans know what we’re trying to do though. They have been fantastic all season and they will be the same tonight.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved in the atmosphere. It will be intense at times. It’s a game for us all to savour, undoubtedly.”
The only definite absentee tonight is defender Connor Brown, whose injured knee required surgery last week. He will be out for up to eight weeks.
New Swiss centre-half Genseric Kusunga should be available after receiving international clearance.
GOALKEEPER Paul Rachubka has signed for Athletic on a short-term deal until January 5, 2014.
The vastly experienced 32-year-old stopper has been training with Athletic following his departure from Leeds United in the summer.
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