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Johnson: "Our Group Is In A Good Place Going Into This Game."

19 February 2015

Manager Lee Johnson is in high spirits ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet League One clash with bottom-of-the-league, Leyton Orient.

The O's find themselves at the foot of the table which is a massive contrast to their form last season where they occupied a play-off position. 

Orient have had three managers this season and Johnson said: "A lot has gone on there. They have a foreign owner that has come in and wants instant success. 

"Maybe they don't know the market at the start and they recruit names. It upsets the balance because some of the wages are higher than the guys who have been there and done it. Then they change manager two or three times and it is a club that looks like it's had a topsy-turvy year. 

"We have just got to go there, be professional and do our job. We have had a good year so far and we want to make it great. We know that we are a couple of games away from it being average again and we don't want that. 

"I believe that our group is in a good place going into this game. I do sense that and I sensed last week that it wasn't going to be easy and I was right. I do feel that the players are right where I want them mentally and physically for this weekend."

Conor Wilkinson missed last weekend's game with Colchester United with a hamstring injury and the manager gave an update on his injury. "He's doing really good," admitted Johnson. 

"He's currently running so he is progressing well. We hope that he will be back sooner rather than later. The way they rehab the hamstring injury has changed and they get them running on it a lot earlier on it. We are hopeful that it will be the better end of a grade two hamstring injury."

Another player who did not start last week's game was Carl Winchester but Johnson believed that the club managed his injury well to get the best out of the player.

"Winchester we dealt with well last week because he was feeling it towards the end. He has been a real shining light of this season and I've enjoyed watching his progression from boy to man."

He continued: "We are keen to play him as much as possible, especially as he is one of our own but we have to manage him. We judged it perfectly, take the result out of the way and talk about his injury, we got half an hour out of him which is all he had. 

"It did tighten up and we did have to rest him during the week but it is an issue for Saturday but he could have a possibility of playing."

With only 16 games of the season remaining and the manager is confident his side can still be in with a shout of the play-off's come the end of the season.

Johnson said: "It's an exciting league and you can look at it both ways. You can be scared of it or embrace it and I'd rather be doing this than what we were doing this time last year. 

"This year we feel we have a group which is a bit inconsistent but generally it's been good and make sure we move into the business end of the season full of positivity and energy."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player.

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