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Johnson Admits 'Catch-22' Over Team Selection

Lee Johnson admits he has a dilemma on his hands when it comes to his team selection for tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup third round replay at Fleetwood Town (7.45pm).

The City head coach already has one eye on Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship clash with managerless Nottingham Forest, who are level on points with Johnson’s men in the table.

Hordur Magnusson and Gary O’Neil have both returned from injuries, but Callum O’Dowda picked up a knock in the Severnside derby defeat to Cardiff City.

“It’s a catch-22 – you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Johnson told Bristol City Player HD, on the topic of making changes for the cup tie.

“We’ve got two really important games. The FA Cup is still held in really high regard at this football club and we want to win the game.

“There are one or two who I feel deserve the opportunity to show they can play and have worked very hard in training.

"They’ve had to be patient and it’s been awkward this year with the size of the squad – it’s never good when you’re leaving someone out of the squad, but the competition is so strong.”

Johnson says the new ruling that dictates players can only move between clubs on loan during transfer windows has provided another challenge behind the scenes.

“From speaking to other managers in the Championship, it’s definitely been difficult and awkward,” he added. “Not so much for the managers, but for the players, because you have to hoard them for a little bit longer.

“Before, if someone was coming back to fitness, you could say ‘give us a month somewhere else in League One or League Two and come back flying’ and they could buy into that plan.

“Under-23 football is never ideal for senior players unless they’re all playing together. It’s been an interesting challenge – a Premier League-type scenario where they hold a squad of 25.”