Lee vows to maintain talent search

Date published: 29 May 2014

ATHLETIC manager Lee Johnson will continue to go for gold in the transfer market – despite a last-gasp knock-back this week.

One player had been set to arrive at the club only for the deal to fall through. But Johnson says his strategy will stay the same as he strives to bring in three or four players he reckons will have a real impact on the existing squad.

“We went very close the other day, but it fell through,” he said. “I got a bit down but it will happen. The trick is to dust yourself off and go again. There are so many good players on the market.”

To grab good players may mean players making compromises, he says.
“We have been led down a couple of blind alleys,” Johnson added. “At the moment, we are going for the level of player who will make a real difference to us.

“That means we have to find a way of achieving the deals — possibly with the player being paid off by his current club or being paid less than he might have expected.

“We only have three or four positions we really need to strengthen. I don’t see why I should just settle for anything.”

Johnson is determined to make better use of the loan system next season. While it can be difficult to assess whether players from under-21 set-ups at top clubs are ready for League One — Manchester City’s Ellis Plummer, for example, struggled badly — Johnson is hoping to get a better hit rate.

He has already talked to a handful of top-flight clubs: “It can be difficult at this stage. For example, with Manchester United, until the new manager arrives you don’t know what his plans are.

“We had a few loans that worked out well last season — Joseph Mills and Mike Petrasso for example — but we didn’t quite do as well as I feel we could have.”