Johnson sounds front-line challenge
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 17 December 2013
A MEETING with Luis Suarez and Co is the prize to aim for tonight.
And having watched potential FA Cup third-round opponents Liverpool obliterate Tottenham at the weekend thanks in part to the two-goal Uruguayan’s efforts, Athletic manager Lee Johnson wants his own strikers to take a leaf out of the 16-goal superstar’s book.
The failure to hit the net at Brentford - despite having the better of the contest - meant the visitors to Griffin Park left with nothing.
Not scoring tonight at Field Mill isn’t an option with such a prestigious prize in waiting at Anfield.
“Suarez has taken the responsibility to score goals,” said Johnson, who watched the 5-0 hammering at White Hart Lane before exchanging text messages with Brendan Rodgers.
“In his interview after the match he said ‘I am a striker and it is my job to score’. That’s what we need. Someone to get in there and be nasty to capitalise on the mistakes of others.”
With Jonson Clarke-Harris having scored only twice this season, Adam Rooney could step into the side alongside Danny Philliskirk tonight.
Charlie MacDonald is still injured and Johnson indicated he will return to his forward hunt when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.
“I spoke to a few players, but there weren’t any who would really have made us better,” said Johnson of his recent search.
“We have to assess where we are financially in the window. Beat Mansfield and draw Liverpool at Anfield and Simon (Corney) is very generous — if the club have it, they will give it.”
Carl Winchester may have done enough to earn a start tonight, after impressing as a substitute for David Mellor at Brentford.
Mellor, meanwhile, may have blood tests to try to get to the bottom of why he felt so drained at Griffin Park.
Kirk Millar is back in contention for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
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