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Johnson Looking To Make Statement To League

30 October 2014

Manager Lee Johnson believes there is no room for sentiment as he takes his Oldham Athletic side to former club and league leaders, Bristol City.

Johnson enjoyed a six year association with the Robins between 2006-12 and is held in high regard at Ashton Gate. 

With Latics unbeaten in the last 13 fixtures in all competitions and the Robins unbeaten in Sky Bet League One this season, the game is set up to be humdinger of a clash. 

Supporters have sold their away allocation and Johnson is expecting a tough clash but is relishing the prospect of ending their unbeaten run.

He said: "They are unbeaten so far this season so that gives us the added bonus of, 'can we go and slay the dragon?' It is important we do it for the division because they have been absolutely flying. 

"They have recruited very well in the summer and have had the funds to do it. They have handpicked the best players in the division and are a very good side. It is up to us to exploit their weaknesses which I think we can do. 

"It's a big game but it is no bigger than the games coming up. The reason it makes it so big is because they are the league leaders and we want to topple them. If we do get a result and win it will really send a statement to the league and that is what we have got to do now. 

"We have been in the top four or five in the form table and we need to kick on now. The top eight or nine in the league are slightly separating themselves but we want to compete and do our best. 

"We want to put on a show for our 500 fantastic sell out crowd that will be there. I'm sure that they are going because they are enjoying the football at the moment."

Johnson admitted although the team are on a good run, it is hard to keep everybody happy. "The team doesn't pick itself. I have a lot of players knocking on the door and asking to play and it is difficult," commented the gaffer. 

"When you come into these next couple of games you are thinking should I rest a few? Should I rotate it? Do you change the system to accommodate someone else? You have all these questions going through your head. Dayton, Brian Wilson and Kusunga are all wanting to start so there are a lot that could be adjusted.

"When the players are flying it is difficult to change anything because it affects their mindset. They are all confident at the moment and they have a lot of trust in each other so if I said we were going to get everyone behind the ball and try and grind out a nil-nil, they would not want to do that. We will go there and try and win the game and I've tried doing that in every game I've been in charge of."

The 33-year-old had good and bad news on the injury of two of his central defenders. Johnson said: "It is frustrating for George Elokobi. He is seeing the specialist today and we are hoping it is best case scenario. 

"Best case scenario would be another 4-6 weeks and worst case would be three months. We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying for him really that we get best case scenario. 

"The return of Adam Lockwood is a massive boost to the club. He played 70 minutes in a reserve game midweek and looked a lot better than I expected."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player. 

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