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Derby Day Clash Excites Johnson

27 November 2014

There is no denying Lee Johnson is up for Saturday's local derby as he takes his side across the A627(M) to face neighbours, Rochdale.

The gaffer, who faces Dale for the first time in a competitive fixture, has drilled into his players the importance of getting a result from the clash.

With over 3,000 supporters in attendance for Latics, Johnson is brimming with confidence ahead of the game.

He said: "As a manager, I'm so excited. I've played in some good derbies myself. Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, Hearts and Hibs, they were fantastic derbies. 

"This for me is our biggest derby, as well as Bury, and I'm excited about it. I'm nervous as well because I know the buzz derbies create for the club.

"There is a lot riding on this game. It is a big game for us and we are desperate to stay in touch. It's still early days but it is an opportunity for both clubs to kick on. 

"You have to be a competitor however and you should love games like this. They have a good manager and a good team. They are punching above their weight like us and is a battle of the Super Flyweight's who are competing against Heavyweights and it is a nice story to it."

Picking the team for Saturday's game has been made a lot harder with Daniel Johnson and Jabo Ibehre back in contention but the manager has been given another selection headache in defence.

"George is definitely in contention for Saturday," admitted Johnson. "It is a very welcome time for him to come back as well. He has such a spirit which will affect our players and the fans.

"We will pick a team on Friday and the fans can trust that the one we will pick will go out there and give a fantastic representation of our club."

With the loan deadline set to pass at 5pm, the 33-year-old has not ruled out more signings adding to the earlier signing of Tom Youngs.

"We are still in the market. A lot of good players become available in the last minute so I'm not sure what we are going to do at the moment. 

"We have brought in Tom Youngs from Bolton and he is a similar guy to Conor Wilkinson. I've watched them a few times now and he has shown something. 

"He is one for us to have a look at and there is no pressure on him to play and be the main man. Bolton have been very good to us and it will be interesting to see if we can fire him up."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player.

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