Miserable run has almost ‘killed’ Barnsley FC boss

Lonely job: Lee Johnson
Lonely job: Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is desperate to help his side end their miserable losing run.

The misfiring Reds go to Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park looking to end a run of five successive league defeats.

“This run has nearly killed me, but you find the strength to come through times like this,” said Johnson. “But talk is cheap and the lads have got to produce when they cross the white line. When you come through this period as a player it can only beneficial for you in the future. And we’ve got a lot of young players.

“But right now the younger players haven’t been on a run like this and we need to come through it. I’m the world’s worst loser, I have been since I was five years old. Whether it’s a game of tiddly winks or a first team football match, I’m always down after a loss.

“I’m not hiding the fact I’m hurting. But I’m delighted we’ve got this game because we’ve a chance to end this stinking feeling I’ve had for four or five weeks.

“When you’ve got an opportunity, you’ve got to take it and so have the players. Yes, we’re depleted, but we’ve still got a decent 11 and we’ll get them firing.”

Midfielder Conor Hourihane and striker Marley Watkins will both have late fitness tests to see if they will play, although Johnson doubts the duo will make it.

Hourihane has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, while Watkins has been plagued by an ankle complaint.

“We hope they’ll be alright, but I’m not sure they will be if I’m being honest,” revealed Johnson.

However, Manchester United loan midfielder Ben Pearson is back in contention for a starting berth having missing last Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat with Fleetwood due to a one-match suspension for five yellow cards.

“He’s [Ben] been brilliant for us this season, he’s been really mature in his performances,” reflected Johnson.

“He’s been one of our best performers this season and our most consistent, so it’s good to have him back.”

Winger Ryan Williams is still missing with a problematic groin injury. “He’s a young player whose got a bright future, but for whatever reason he’s not been available to us.”

The boss added: “He’s quality. But he has been struggling and only played 25 minutes for us, so it has been frustrating.

“It’s down to him now when he can play. We’re desperate for him to get involved and do well.”