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Johnson Hails Competitive Cheltenham Clash

With family bragging rights up for grabs, Lee Johnson was pleased with the competitive nature of the contest that ensured he won the Johnson Cup back from father Gary.

Bristol City’s 2-1 victory at Cheltenham Town, courtesy of goals from Jonathan Kodjia and Lee Tomlin, means Johnson Jnr now leads the unique head to head by the same scoreline, having experienced mixed fortunes as manager of Oldham Athletic against Yeovil Town.

With City now just 12 days away from their Sky Bet Championship season opener, Johnson believes his players will benefit from the physical challenge dished out by the hosts at Whaddon Road.

“I thought it was a really tough game,” the head coach told Bristol City Player HD. “You could see why (Cheltenham) they were champions of the Conference last year – they’re really up and at ‘em and they get in your face.

“A couple of the lads just said ‘no one presses as well as that in the Championship’ so it was a really intense game for us. 

“Magnusson got a whack, Kodjia got a whack…everyone knew they’d been in a game, which is important at this time of year.

“I thought we played some good football at times, but I’d like to see us take that another 20 yards up the pitch if possible. I’ve got to find a way of doing that.

“Some of our passing and moving in the middle of the pitch was outstanding. We just needed to get Tomlin a little bit higher up the pitch and we needed more movement from Jimmy, because every time he made decent runs he was in.

“There are still places up for grabs. You can get injuries, loss of form or someone on fire in the next two games. I’m quite relaxed about it because I know I’ve got ready-made replacements to come in.”

Interestingly, recent City trialist Ivan Lucic played the full 90 minutes in a Cheltenham shirt, but Johnson revealed the Bayern Munich goalkeeper is on the verge of putting pen to paper at Ashton Gate.

“We were helping them out tonight,” he added. “We’re very close to doing a deal with Ivan.

“He’s a prospect. Initially when he came in we were looking for him to go toe to toe with our top two keepers, but I believe he needs 20-40 games somewhere to go and earn his stripes.

“He’s a bit of a punt for us but an exciting punt. We’ll get his body fat down, get his movement back to where it should be and try to get him a loan move somewhere.”