Manager looks to build on midweek win
New manager Lee Johnson is looking to build on his debut win against Hartlepool United in midweek as he prepares for his first road trip with Latics.
Latics head for Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, for a battle involving two teams on the fringe of the relegation places, with Johnson impressed by what he has seen since his appointment on Monday.
Johnson said: "The response from the players has been really good. They have been sharp, lively and really enthusiastic which, as a coach/manager, is all you can ask for.
"I was really pleased by the performance against Hartlepool. They players worked their socks off and there were some very good individual displays."
Johnson also expanded on the comment by several players that they were allowed to play with more freedom under his tutelage.
He explained: "Sometimes you can get too wrapped up by tactics and where everybody should stand to the yard.
"It doesn’t happen like that in a game and players need to think quickly. I need to encourage them to think for themselves and work out the solutions."
Johnson is keen on a high tempo game, though he admits the players are unable to carry that out.
He continued: "I think that tempo is the required standard for 90 minutes if we are going to win a league, but it is going to take time to get up to that level of fitness.
"We have substitutions which can make a difference. I would rather have 70 minutes at a high tempo than 90 minutes at three quarters."
Johnson added it is important that feet are kept on the ground after the midweek win.
He said: "It was a good game, but it has gone. The players shouldn’t think they are a genius just because they had one good game.
"They have to keep the hammer down and show the same mentality as they did against Hartlepool."
Despite their lowly league position, Johnson has been impressed by what he has seen of Shrewsbury.
He said: "They are a good side and Graham Turner has made some good January additions to his squad.
"I think they have been better away than at home and hopefully that is something we can take advantage of."
Latics will be paying their first visit to Shrewsbury since 1988 and this will be their first-ever trip to their new Greenhous Meadow ground.