Johnson: I’m fully committed to Barnsley

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.

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Boss Lee Johnson has played down rumours that his Barnsley future hangs on the next two games.

The Reds are on their worst losing run since 1959 having lost seven league games in a row.

But tomorrow it’s FA Cup duty to contend with, away to non-league Altrincham followed by a home clash with York City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area quarter-finals.

And Johnson knows any more defeats – especially a giant-killing by respective minnows - only heaps more pressure on his tenure to remain at the helm.

“It’s a nice separate challenge away from the league and something the players can feel as though they’re on the front foot in,” said Johnson.

“It will be a tough game against Altrincham, but we can’t forget we’ve got quality.

“We should be excited about this game because if we get the result we want it could be the catalyst for us to pick up our form.

“But I don’t know whether my future hangs on the next two games, you will have to ask somebody else.

“However, I am fully committed to the club. You can tell by the way I speak that I am still ‘up for it’, positive and dynamic.

“I don’t want to make excuses because you do a lot of interviews and asked a lot of questions. Anything can be construed as an excuse.

“But we had a fans’ forum the other day and we fronted it, myself, [owner] Patrick Cryne and [chief executive] Ben Mansford.

“We took a little bit [of criticism] on the chin, apologised for the poor form, and tried to give a couple of explanations.

“But I am still stubbornly and aggressively confident that, with our best XI, a couple of additions and our injuries back, we can turn this season around and make it really positive. I believe I’m the one to turn things around.”

Striker Marley Watkins (ankle) and influential midfielder Conor Hourihane (hamstring) are both close to returning, but this weekend may come to soon, while winger Ryan Williams (groin) remains sidelined and Cardiff City midfielder Kadeem Harris has had his loan spell ended because of injury.

Meanwhile, former players Adam Hammill and Hugo Colace have both made a surprise return to the club on trial as Johnson looks for solutions for his injury problems.