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Johnson's Latics debut

18 March 2013

It's a massive and exciting game - new manager

Lee Johnson describes his managerial debut for Latics in tomorrow's bottom-of-the-table clash against Hartlepool United at Boundary Park as a "massive and exciting game."

It is a proverbial six-pointer with both teams in need of points to climb out of the bottom four clubs.

Johnson, who took training for the first time today, was pleased with the reaction of the players.

After watching the home defeat by AFC Bournemouth, Johnson said: "The players have to go on to the pitch and give their best and produce what they didn't on Saturday when it was a poor first half.

"Nobody wants that sort of performance again and I believe we will get a good one tomorrow.

"And after seeing the players in training today, I have every confidence we will give it a good go.

"I was really pleased with the application and had a good response. I also had a quite a few individual chats."

Johnson says it won't be easy with Hartlepool one of the division's form teams.

He explained: "They may be in the bottom four, but have been on a good run of form and they have good players and a lot of experience.

"Since John Hughes became manager, he has turned things round and given them a chance of staying up. 

"There is little between any teams in League One other than perhaps a couple of box players who give teams that bit extra.

"Anybody can beat anybody on the day so we have to make sure we are at the races."

Johnson will pick his team from the same squad of players who were named for Saturday's game against Bournemouth.

Squad: Cisak, Brown, Grounds, Wesolowski, M'voto, Tarkowski, Croft, Iwelumo, Simpson, Montano, Bouzanis, Obita, Murray, Barnard, Taylor, Baxter, Millar, K Smith, Jacob, Winchester.  

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