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Johnson: "It Will Be A Tough Game And A Good One To Watch."

24 November 2014

Manager Lee Johnson has hinted that some of his squad players could get the nod in tomorrow's Johnstone's Paint Trophy quarter final clash with Preston North End.

The gaffer is already forced into making two changes with Jabo Ibehre suspended after receiving a red card on Saturday and Daniel Johnson ineligible after appearing for Chesterfield in the earlier rounds of the competition. 

That said, Johnson is looking for his players to step up to the plate and put pressure on him to start in Saturday's derby game with Rochdale.

He said: "It is a good chance for players who are chomping at the bit because we are taking this competition very seriously. We are probably playing the favourites in the Northern section. Preston probably have the best squad and the depth of that is very strong so it will be a tough game and a good one to watch.

"It has crossed my mind to give Etheridge a game because he has played and trained well. He looks match fit and he is ready so we will have to see. In saying that, Rachubka has been consistent in organising the defence and is a sound character at the back. 

"We don't want to change too much and the rules dictate that we can't change and that is another thing we have to consider because we cannot afford to pay the 5K fine if we don't play the six players."

The draw for the next round of the competition has already been made and Latics could travel to either Notts County or Doncaster Rovers in the semi-final with a prize of Wembley at the end and that is something which the manager feels would benefit the club.

"Our club mindset is that wouldn't it be great to go to Wembley," commented the gaffer. "I feel like the club needs something like that and we want to produce. It is a tough game so it will be difficult but with the right attitude we have a chance of getting the right result. 

"The players should dream of Wembley because what is the point of being in the competition if not. We have practiced the penalties and we have some decent penalty takers but I hope we produce the business in the 90 minutes rather than relying on penalties.

"We love the atmospheres here and it is a big game. There is a decent prize at the end of it with the semi final of the JPT up for grabs and that is what we have got to be looking at. Both clubs will feel they have a good chance of progressing but both clubs will know it will be a tough game."

Latics took over 1,000 supporters to Sheffield on Saturday and the 33-year-old praised them and hoped the atmosphere would continue into tomorrow's clash.

"They were fantastic and were in great spirits. They never stopped singing throughout the game and they enjoyed the players performance. Our players responded with a good performance as well on the big stage," said Johnson.

"Everybody is behind the players at the moment which is good and they are in credit with the fans. It is a tough game so it will be a really good atmosphere tomorrow."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player.

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