Barnsley boss Lee Johnson delighted to get back on the training ground

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson is delighted to be back on the training ground as the squad start their first full week of pre-season preparations.

After completing fitness checks throughout the summer, the players returned to full training at Oakwell on Wednesday.

Following a short break and then a few weeks of concentrating on player recruitment, Johnson is now relishing the opportunity to work closely with his players ahead of the upcoming League One campaign.

“The lads have come back and been great,” he said.

“I’ve personally really enjoyed being back on the grass.

“Some of the young players have gone away in the summer and worked on a few of their deficiencies and they’ve come back and improved. That as a coach gives you a buzz.

“It’s all positive and we’ve got to make sure that we get it right and hit the ground running, but so far, so good.”

Johnson has a young, inexperienced squad at his disposal, and is understood to want to bring in more new recruits in time for the new season.

That could lead to a number of the club’s academy graduates joining lower league sides on loan in order to gain more first-team experience and continue their progression.

The Barnsley boss has not ruled out that possibility, but believes everybody deserves their chance to impress in the early stages of the summer’s preparations.

“It’s pre-season so you see how everyone comes back,” he added. “The lads have all come back fit and there’s no rush for any of that.

“I want to have a good look, particularly in games where there’s not much pressure on because sometimes young players can flourish there and you can see things that you couldn’t towards the end of the season when contracts, play-offs, and getting out of relegation were at stake.

“It’s a different vibe, a different mindset. People have the summer to think about how they’re going to be better as people and as footballers.

“Pre-season always chucks a surprise out, and I’m looking forward to seeing who that surprise is.”

Promising defender Mason Holgate has been linked with a move to Premier League outfit Aston Villa.

The 18-year-old turned out 22 times for Johnson’s men in his breakthrough season, attracting plenty of admirers with his mature displays.

Meanwhile, experienced target man Jon Stead joined Notts County after being heavily linked with a move to Oakwell.

There were a number of clubs interested in the 32-year-old who was a free agent after being released by Huddersfield, but the former Sunderland and Blackburn man opted the join the League Two side on a two-year deal.