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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, March 2nd 2018

Johnson calls for "buzz and enthusiasm"

Lee Johnson has called on his players to find their buzz and enthusiasm when they take on Sheffield Wednesday in the Sky Bet Championship.

Saturday's fixture comes off the back of a disappointing Severnside derby defeat last weekend, but after a few days off for the first team, the head coach expects his players to kick on and fight for their return to the play-off positions.

The Owls are City's opponents on Saturday, a team who are lingering in the lower half of the table despite a promotion fight in recent seasons.

Injuries have had a huge impact on Sheffield Wednesday, as they have for City, and Johnson still expects "a tough game."

"The players have been good, they had three days off because I’ve been through what they have gone through in the past, where the anxiety of results gets in the way of performances," he said when asked how the players have responded to the Cardiff result.

"I took the decision to get them away from football. It was a chance for them to rest up with their families and they have come back to train in difficult conditions.

"I just want to see that buzz and enthusiasm to play. If you are not fired with enthusiasm then you will be fired."

WHAT HE SAID:

"I just want to see that buzz and enthusiasm to play. If you are not fired with enthusiasm then you will be fired."

Head coach, Lee Johnson

Among the injuries to Jos Luhukay's side are the club's top goalscorer Gary Hooper (11), Barry Bannan, Keiren Westwood, Steven Fletcher and Sam Hutchinson.

Johnson continued: "You could come up with a very good side from their treatment room alone and I think everyone understands that that has made it a frustrating season for them, considering the size of the club, where they have been but all teams have injuries. We’ve had them all year and we have dealt with it quite well.

"We can’t use them as an excuse; they are an opportunity for other players who may not otherwise be playing. We have players coming back from injury now so that can only be a positive.

"It will be an interesting game, they have a new manager with fresh tactics, they play three or five at the back, depending on how you look at it, they have young players…and with a big club like that they have threats everywhere.

"It will be a tough game for us but I want to see the buzz, enthusiasm and us getting on the ball, playing our way. It may go wrong at times but in my mind there are two levels of mistakes: a good mistake and a bad mistake. Good mistakes are trying to do the right things, whereas bad mistakes are freezing and not playing with the correct intentions.

"I definitely believe that we have got a squad that when fully fit has all the options of the way we want to play and young players that are developing all the time."

BOSS REFLECTS ON FLINT'S NEW DEAL

Off the pitch, Aden Flint has put pen to paper on a new contract which now has the option of a further year with Bristol City after 2020.

The 28-year-old has been in outstanding form for the club this season, scoring eight times in 37 appearances, and Johnson says the defender is fully-deserving of his new deal.

"I went to the board as I felt it was the right thing to do," said Johnson.

"He’s done very well and we did have receive an offer for him. I wanted to reward him and the board agreed. You’re never sure what can happen in football but he’s happy and he’s played an integral part for us this year.

LEADERSHIP PRAISE

"His leaderships qualities have improved, he has maybe slipped a bit in recent games but he was outstanding, on and off the pitch in the first third of the season.

"He has to continue improving because his game is the most effective, for what he does, in this division. Now he needs to continue to improve and we believe this is the right place for him to do."

WATCH: FLINT DISCUSSES NEW DEAL AND SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY