Barnsley: Johnson will always pick league over cup

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson would forfeit the chance to play at Wembley in favour of his side pushing for League One promotion.

Johnson is obviously delighted his improving side are edging closer to welcome silverware in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Their thrilling 4-2 penalty shootout win over Wigan proved they still have the fight – and success in a two-legged Northern Area Final with Fleetwood Town next month would yield a showcase final at the home of football.

“It’s really exciting that we’ve got the chance to get to Wembley and compete for a trophy, it’s great for the club,” revealed Johnson, speaking exclusively to The Star.

“But I’d rather have more wins in the league any day! Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant for all of us that we could play at Wembley.

“There’s no doubt our run has kept our season alive. The supporters, the players, the whole is alive.

“But honestly I’m a league man, I always have been. Even when I was playing it was all about how well you did in the league.

“I’d genuinely take having been knocked out in the first round of the cup to be up there challenging for promotion.

“I want to win the league over any cup, but that’s just me.

“Of course I still want to win JPT – and it’s really exciting to be the Area Final – but we know we’ve got to improve out league form.”

The Reds have been drawn at home to the Cod Army in the first leg of the tie on the week beginning January 11, followed the return leg at the Highbury Stadium on the week beginning February 1.

But before then Johnson’s charges are away to Colchester United, this Saturday, followed other important league fixtures against Wigan, Bury and Blackpool before the New Year.

And Johnson is desperate to see an improvement with his team still two points adrift of hot-footing it out of the relegation zone.

“I’m still seething with where we are in the table because it’s not been good enough,” admitted Johnson.

“But the tide has started to turn and the performances have been very encouraging. I want us to start driving up the league now – and we know a win against Colchester on Saturday would see us overtake them, which is a good start.”