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Johnson highlights positive impact of new players

The January arrivals of Filip Benković, Markus Henriksen and Nahki Wells have added a boost to the squad, Lee Johnson says.

The City head coach has been working with the club’s latest signings with preparations focused on the visit of Birmingham City to Ashton Gate this Friday night (February 7th, 7.45pm).

Each bring their own strengths to defence, midfield and attack as City look to build on their play-off spot in the Sky Bet Championship.

And Johnson offered an insight into what it’s like for footballers at a new club.

“I don’t think it’s ever easy for a new player coming in. It’s like a first day at school or a new job; you’re trying to impress and make sure you are liked, and that people understand what you’re about,” he said.

“With football players, the start of that is ‘does everybody else think I’m a good player?’ I think they try to earn your crust and your corn on that training pitch.

“Competition is very strong so with the new players coming in it can inevitably have an effect. One, the old players want to impress the new players and two, they know they are quality players and they have to do a little bit extra to maintain their place. I think you do a get a boost and the boys have definitely got a boost by the quality that we have bought in.”

The Robins are enjoying a four-game winning run in the league heading into the Friday night encounter, but Johnson remains level-headed and outlined what the squad must do if they are to maintain the quality shown of late.

“We certainly take the confidence that that brings, both in terms of defending and attacking,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, we must stay vigilant because we know that you are only a fantastic strike from an opposition player, or a bad decision from one of our players or a bad refereeing decision from being caught out. So, we must stay very, very focused, vigilant and the players really have.

“We’ve continued our work this week, again a nice balance between building the bond with the new players but also implementing the tactical principles that we are after.

“I do feel like the players are grounded. I can assure you myself and my staff will be on them if they’re not but it’s not a dictatorship and players have to be able to be free to make those mistakes and to be creative. There are still areas of the game we want to improve and work on but hopefully by that constant evolution of our performance we can be consistently a very good side.”

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