Boss spells out switch
Date published: 08 January 2014
LEE Johnson has explained his reasoning for a controversial substitution at Liverpool.
Jonson Clarke-Harris initially looked surprised to be hauled off as Athletic looked to find an equaliser in the FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield, with debutant Gary Harkins brought on alongside James Dayton in a double switch in the 61st minute.
Adam Rooney also came off — leaving some supporters angry that the strike power of two forwards had been dropped at the same time.
But Johnson said the idea was to add new difficulties for the Liverpool defence by manoeuvring the ball better in the opposition half — problems which he believes the on-loan St Mirren creative force will increasingly replicate at League One level.
“Gary is a very good player; people have seen a glimpse of his quality on the ball,” Johnson added.
“I heard a few rumblings about taking off Clarke-Harris at Liverpool. But the fact was we needed to get up the pitch more than we were, by making some better angles of attack.”
Ahead of a meeting with far less star-studded opponents Stevenage, Johnson also explained the virtues in signing free agent Adam Lockwood, who can operate in varying positions within defence.
“He is an influence both in the dressing room and on the pitch,” the manager added.
“In fairness to Adam, he is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. But he makes very good decisions. With our squad being so young, we have players who make rash decisions sometimes - he is definitely not one of those.
“He is good around the place and the lads respect him. We lost Matteo Lanzoni and have replaced him with another valued member of the squad. He has pedigree as well, having been captain of Doncaster.”
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