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Monday Press Conference

13 January 2014

Lee Johnson held a press conference this morning at Boundary Park prior to tomorrows visit to Walsall.

The Latics gaffer gave his verdict on Saturdays win over Stevenage, loan signing Gary Harkins, the game against the Saddlers and on player movements in and out of Boundary Park.

On Saturday's win against Stevenage:

"I was very happy with the result, and as I stated after the game, it wasn't the best football we have played this season but it was affective. Stevenage are a very difficult side to play against but the boys worked their socks off, doubling up and stopping their aerial threat, and also created three or four good chances of our own.

"We had to grind a result out and the clean sheet was important too, we know that in this division the first goal is important, as it proved on Saturday. The boys showed their grit and determination to hold on to the lead.

"Obviously we are working on combining our normal passing game with that grit and determination, and when we get it right we will be a force".

On Gary Harkins:

"I was pleased with his contribution, he did well and our supporters could see what he is all about. It is difficult having only been in for a few days to try and get to know all the lads, but he has gone straight in the team and been effective. He has played a few nice balls in, he's taken the sting out of the game and he worked hard. He is slightly lacking in match fitness but we will be working to get him up there as quick as we can. 

On Walsall:

"We have no further injury issues after Saturday and go into the game with a fully fit squad which is pleasing. It's a good game for us as we were beaten at home early in the season against them and didn't really give a good account of ourselves, so we hope to go there and play a lot better.

"Walsall are a different prospect to Saturday's opponents, Stevenage. They are smaller, full of energy, and are a really good side. It will be a tough game, but if we turn up we will have a chance to win" 

"In many respects they are a blueprint for success on a budget in this division. They have a good manager and are consistent in the profile of player that they bring into the club. They work to high energy and punch above their weight, although I don't think we are too far off where they are"

On Player movement:

"Sidney Schmeltz has obviously moved to Shrewsbury on loan until the end of the season, and apparently he played quite well on Saturday which is good. I think he just needed a fresh start as he would have found opportunities for regular games hard to come by, so it’s for the best for all parties for him to go to there and play football. He is very keen to make an impression in this country and Shrewsbury is a good club so hopefully he can go there and make a name for himself. We of course wish him all the best for his loan spell"

"Cliff Byrne is going up to Scotland for a couple of days training at Ross County so hopefully things work out for him up there"

"I have my eye on a particular target, which may prove to be a difficult task to bring him in as there are Championship clubs interested too. More importantly I am looking towards bringing players in that will play a part over the next 18 months to two years"

The Press Conference video will be on Latics Player later today and our Walsall v Latics match preview will be on the website tomorrow

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