Johnson’s warning to his play-off chasing Reds side

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson
Barnsley boss Lee Johnson
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has called for his on-song side to “keep the hammer down” as the club push for a coveted play-off place.

A second successive victory under Johnson’s leadership sees the resurgent Reds sitting healthily in tenth place in League One, two points off the sought-after top six.

And victory tomorrow afternoon at home to Walsall could see Johnson’s confident charges edge into the top six for the first time this season.

“We’ve got to make sure we stay focused,” stressed Johnson, who has been delighted with victories in both of his opening matches since succeeding Danny Wilson at the managerial helm.

“We have to go out on Saturday and make sure we keep the hammer down.

“The good thing is that injury-wise we’re not too bad, Sam Winnall is back [from a hamstring injury] and we’ve got a little bit of scope to play with in the loan market if we need too.

“And if you can recruit well then it makes your squad stronger, so it’s all going in the right direction.

“But we know in football the perception [from the fans] can change quickly from a win or a loss.

“You can’t get too ahead of yourself when you win because things change very quickly.

“We’ve had a good start and I thank the players for that, but we’ve got to continue to strive forward. We just have to make sure we keep going.”

Johnson let out-of-favour striker Leroy Lita join Notts County on loan on Tuesday afternoon for the remainder of the season, which means he has more to scope to recruit a fresh face to his squad.

Peter Ramage, Ben Pearson, John O’Sullivan and George Waring are the four players currently on loan at Oakwell, but Johnson is keen to add another loan player - with five allowed in any match-day squad - ahead of the remaining 12 games of the season.

“We’re certainly looking in the market to bring someone in,” revealed Johnson.

“We’ve got a few names, but it’s a difficult time of the year to get decent, match-fit loan players in because it’s the business end of the season and other clubs want to make sure they cover themselves.

“But more importantly it’s about bringing in players with the right personalities, ones which enhance the group.”

Centre-back Ramage remains sidelined with a thigh injury, but could be in contention for a return next weekend, while goalkeeper Ross Turnbull is waiting to see whether he’ll require surgery for a troublesome back injury which would likely rule him out for the rest of the campaign.

However, leading scorer Winnall provides Johnson with welcome firepower up top, with the manager also keen to extend Manchester United midfielder Pearson’s loan deal.

The Reds have not beaten The Saddlers at home since October 2005. They also lost 3-1 to their visitors earlier this season.