Be like Mike
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 24 December 2013
Petrasso stays - and boss singles him out
MIKE Petrasso is the shining example his Athletic team-mates have been challenged to follow in the Boxing Day clash at Sheffield United.
The 18-year-old Canadian has had his loan from QPR extended by a month after some bright displays on the wing.
Petrasso’s willingness to race at a retreating defence was one of few bright spots during the 2-0 weekend defeat by Colchester.
As the squad heads to Bramall Lane, manager Lee Johnson feels the best is yet to come.
“I actually felt sorry for Mike on Saturday, as he was the one player who was charging round all game driving us forward,” Johnson said.
“We needed some of the more senior players to have followed that example. He has done well and if you look at his performances, he is a player who has gone better and better as time has gone on.”
If Petrasso is a performer Blades boss Nigel Clough will prime his team to watch out for, the same is true on the opposite side of the Blades’ ex-Boundary Park favourite Jose Baxter.
Johnson, who took the decision to sell Baxter to Athletic’s rivals early on this season, hopes to use the knowledge he has of the former Everton player to his advantage.
“We haven’t made any special plans for him,” the manager added. “Jose is a good player with real quality, but flaws too.”
Baxter’s effective replacement, Danny Philliskirk, may not get the chance to feature against his former club. Athletic’s 10-goal top scorer was seen on crutches at Boundary Park yesterday and he is a doubt for the game, Johnson confirmed.
“Danny picked up a knock and we will see how he is,” he said. “It was a bang to the side of his knee. He picked it up very early on against Colchester but managed to finish the game.”
Genseric Kusunga may recover in time for Boxing Day and there is an outside chance for James Dayton, though he is more likely to feature in Sunday’s game at Coventry.
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