Get your head up, boss tells striker
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 15 January 2014
ATHLETIC manager Lee Johnson says it is up to misfiring striker Adam Rooney to lift his mood for the challenges ahead.
The Dublin-born forward failed to find the target at Walsall last night with two excellent late chances — including one from the penalty spot deep in added time — as Athletic slipped to a 1-0 defeat.
The former Swindon and Birmingham striker is stuck on seven goals for the season.
Up against a Saddlers side who climbed to sixth place in the league, Athletic’s boss was forced to come to terms with a highly-polished display that still yielded a loss, for the 12th time this season.
“Rooney will have to lift himself,” said Johnson. “I’m not here to be a social worker, I am a football manager who needs results. He is a senior player in our team and if he is down, he has to liven himself up and kick on. And when the chance comes next time, bury it.”
Rooney, who has been linked with a move to Scotland, came on after returning striker Charlie MacDonald had come off.
MacDonald saw one effort saved, and Johnson was impressed with the front man’s work.
“Charlie MacDonald’s movement was excellent,” said Johnson. “It was a slick ball played to him by James Dayton in the first half, and a decent save.
“We were fantastic with the passing and the movement we had. But if you don’t score, you can’t win
“I could name at least 10 very solid chances and scoring opportunities. I went into the dressing room afterwards and said, ‘fantastic lads’. Because as a manager, that is the performance I want with the energy and the will to win.
“I don’t want to say we were unlucky, as people get the hump when I say that. It was just the fact we didn’t put our chances away when they arrived.”
Athletic’s next game is a trip to Port Vale on Saturday and after that there lies a tricky run of games against Peterborough, Wolves and Swindon up to the first weekend in February.
“We have a strong group here. David Worrall comes in next week and he will give us a bit more as well,” added Johnson, referring to the loan Rotherham midfield player who has yet to make an appearance after signing for the rest of the season.
“There are a lot of fantastic signs for the future, but we have to steer ourselves out of this murky patch,” said Johnson.
ATHLETIC’S home match against Peterborough on Saturday, January 25, will go ahead as planned after Posh were defeated 3-2 at home by Kidderminster in an FA Cup third-round replay last night.
Have Your Say