Reds boss backing Joe to cope with soaring Robins

Joe Wildsmith goes straight into the Barnsley side to face Bristol City after a loan switch from Sheffield Wednesday
Joe Wildsmith goes straight into the Barnsley side to face Bristol City after a loan switch from Sheffield Wednesday
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has no worries about throwing new keeper Joe Wildsmith in at the deep end this weekend against League One leaders Bristol City.

Johnson swooped to sign Sheffield Wednesday shot-stopper Wildsmith on loan until for a month with current starter Adam Davies ruled out with an abductor tear.

And the 19-year-old, an England Under-20 international, is expected to make his debut for the resurgent Reds at Ashton Gate this weekend.

“It’s a big ask, but there’s no better opportunity to go and show what he can do,” said Johnson.

“Young players need a chance and he’s a young player who we believe deserves and needs his chance.

“It looks like we’re going to throw him straight into the mix because we haven’t got much else.

Mark Crossley has worked with him first-hand at Sheffield Wednesday. Mark Rates him a lot, so I’m happy with that

“Adam Davies has got a slight abductor tear, which is not ideal, but we can’t really risk it getting any worse so we’ve brought in Joe.

“He’s a good signing for us. He’s got a really good reputation.

“[Goalkeeping coach] Mark Crossley has worked with him first-hand at Sheffield Wednesday. Mark rates him a lot, so I’m happy with that.

“It’s the worst time possible to have to sign a goalkeeper because anybody who is going for promotion wants to keep three goalkeepers.

“And also the teams who are struggling and wanting to avoid relegation want to hold to three keepers, so there’s not that many about to sign.

“It’s very difficult to bring in a tried and tested senior [player].

“Honestly we must have gone through 65 different options.”

Johnson is also boosted by the return of Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson and fellow midfielder Josh Scowen.

Pearson missed last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Preston North End because of illness, while Scowen has recovered from a slight hamstring strain.

However, Slovakian winger Milan Lalkovic is missing as he serves the second game suspension of his three-match ban having been sent off against Orient last week.

“Bristol have done very well, but they’ve also had the biggest budget in the league,” offered Johnson.

“They’ve got some good players and spent some decent money. Credit to Steve Cotterill because they’ve really cruised it this season.

“They’ve just won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as well, so they’ll be full of confidence and high-spirited.

“But sometimes that’s a good time to catch someone.”

The Reds go into tomorrow’s match on the back of an impressive eight-game unbeaten run.

And if Johnson’s promotion-chasing side can win or draw on their travels, it will be the first time in over a decade that the club have gone nine games unbeaten in the league.

“The boys aren’t under pressure and they know we can go there and play with freedom,” stressed Johnson, whose side have conceded just twice in their last eight outings.

“They know that any result, well they’ll return heroes.”