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Latics boss lauds strength of squad

Date online: 11 February 2014

ATHLETIC have a stronger squad now than at any other time during manager Lee Johnson’s reign, he says.

Despite losing James Tarkowski to Brentford, Johnson believes his team is well equipped for success going into the final third of the season.

Gary Harkins, David Worrall, Adam Lockwood, James Wilson and Jon Stead have slotted in as new signings; John Paul Kissock is ready to have an impact, and the club rebuffed a big-money approach for Korey Smith.

Though an emergency loan move to bring Tarkowski back to the club from Brentford has hit the buffers, Johnson hopes to maintain an upturn in fortunes at MK Dons on Saturday.

“It is important we keep picking up points. In the last four games, we have picked up seven points which isn’t too bad,” said Johnson.

“We know that our squad we have now is the best since I have been here, so I am pleased with that and we have to continue progressing. We have a tough game at MK Dons now, but it is one that suits us.”

The manager has been handed a fresh long-term deal at Boundary Park and the same is true of his first permanent signing, Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Though the striker’s first-team chances are currently not helped by Stead’s presence, Johnson sees the teenager — whose contract extension keeps him at the club at least until the summer of 2015, as a valuable long-term proposition.

“He has earned it,” said Johnson of Clarke-Harris’s new deal. “When we brought him in, it was a trial period as we all know he arrived with a certain reputation. He has certainly matured a lot, and we are looking for that improvement to continue as he is still so young — people forget he’s only just turned 19.

“He hasn’t had an awful lot of coaching, so hopefully if we can put the extra time in then he can be a big asset over the next two and a half years.”


strong squad not really or we would not be where we are in the league.

Cue the negative comments from all those "experienced managers" on here who know how to run the club better than Johnson without knowing the players or the club on a day-to-day basis.

Big talk, let's hope you prove to be correct. Strength of squad I think would be determined by our own players not loanees and I think it'll be a hard slog to the finish line rather than 'success in the final third'.

Who do you think you are kidding?

Lee Johnson should read the Chronicle report on Saddleworth Rangers' recent game in the Rugby League cup where they conceded 17 penalties (free-kicks to soccer people) and had 2 men sent off.

Their coach Shane Tupaea didn't blame the referee or seek excuses for their loss, he just said that the team needed to improve their discipline and were not good enough to win the match.

Perhaps Latics might improve once Johnson adopts the same view of his side and stops looking for excuses when they lose

Yet more positive comments from Thou Dumber..................
Saddleworth Rangers!!!

Thou Dumber. A simple question for you....should the manager berate his players in public as per Tupaea (coach of the "mighty" Saddleworth Rangers!!!) and also your opinion OR should he do that behind the dressing room door as per most of the top Premiership clubs. I know that if I was a footballer I would prefer to be chastised in private rather than through the media.

@mikejh45.... Open you eyes and look at the table....it will tell you that latics are in a relegation fight! You are clearly one of the few that would jump off a cliff for the cause if Johnson asked you to....

Mikejh45 - After the recent Peterborough match Johnson said to the Chronicle “We have to learn the lessons, We were caught again with the second goal where there was a little block on the corner, which was disappointing."

Isn't that also a manager berating his players in the media ?

I just think it is about time that Johnson stopped looking at his team through rose-coloured glasses and trying to blame everyone and everything else for the poor performances of his team.

Skay...welcome back, I've missed your miserable nature. Not a peep out of you when we get 3 points at Swindon or 1 point against Bristol City but the opportunity to have a moan and you are there front and centre. The team is still picking up points which is an improvement from Dickov's tenure when we suffered year-on-year post Xmas freefall AND the football is better.

Thou Dumber...please enlighten us with your football management experience what Johnson should say to the media?

Mikejh45 - Johnson should explain why his team are performing so badly and not just give excuses to try and justify keeping his job

Thou Dumber...WHY? Whatever he says or would say would be used by you to beat him with.


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