Lee Johnson met the press today and gave an update on his potential transfer business, where Carl Winchester might fit into his plans, George Dobson’s future and the fitness of Denver Hume and Luke O’Nien…
LJ ON THE WINDOW
"There's not an awful lot going on atm. I think our position could change very quickly in a day. You also have to know your place at the table and unfortunately the players that we're in for - our place at the table doesn't correlate sometimes to get value. That's what we've got to be considerate of. I think too many times in the past this club has chased it and made snap decisions and got it wrong. We're trying to be very vigilant with the data as well to make sure we do right. You see positional changes that have been successful in this little spell already. I thought Gooch and O'Brien were excellent in the 9's against Port Vale. Max Power slotted in at right-back and looks like he's played there for hundreds of games. Apart from sticking the goalkeeper in the number 10 position we're quite flexible in terms of the squad we've got."
JOHNSON ON CARL WINCHESTER…
"People will be surprised by how good a player Carl is. I think he's a player that's been playing below his level in terms of league standard for the last four or five years. That's no disrespect to Cheltenham or Forest Green, I just mean that they had a League One at least - or more than likely a Championship quality player. I think he brings an assured quality on the ball. He can play forward - he can drive forward into the spaces there. He has good vision and execution, he's good but still could be better. He's very versatile as well. He can slot in at right-back. He's comfortable dictating the game when you're in the ascendency and he's comfortable stepping up one and having to be the hustler if you like and trying to win it back from a higher midfield position. I think he gives us a lot of flexibility in our squad and the way we want to play. We've already talked about Grant Leadbitter, who's a fantastic player at 35-years of age. Potentially with 28 or 29 games of the season left it may be difficult for him to play all the games. It's definitely not Winch [Winchester] or Leadbitter, they can play together in terms of good footballers can play together. Depending on the shape will depend on the attributes required within that shape."
GAFFER ON GEORGE DOBSON’S FUTURE…
"We have had conversations with George and we have left it open, really. It's not a case of 'we don't want you', but at the same time if he does feel like that - which he did initially, he was one of the first to knock on my door and say 'look, I'm not happy when I'm not playing', then obviously his agent has to do his work and then we will look at anything that comes. There have been offers that have come in for George, but not ones that he has wanted to take at this moment in time. Therefore, that's OK with us and we'll see how the rest of the window pans out. It changes by the hour at the moment. It doesn't mean that George won't get those regular games but obviously there are a couple ahead of him in the pecking order in that position. Until he gets a chance to prove it, or goes out on loan or whatever, he has to continue to train as well as he has and stay focused."
INJURY BLOW FOR DENVER HUME
"Denver has had a recurrence with his hamstring injury which is bad news for us. He's got a grade three hamstring tear which probably means somewhere between six and eight weeks out. I feel for him first and foremost, he'd worked really hard and got up to top speed. It was just a very innocuous little stretch for a pass and it's recurred. We've got a good left-back and we've got a couple there, but we've got to play so many games. McFadzean can play the role but really has been built as a player further forward. Tom Flanagan can do it but is right footed, Dion Sanderson did a great job [at Northampton] but you lose balance when you put a right-footer there. So we've either got to find one [in the market] or find one from within our ranks. I can't see one at the moment who I think is absolutely ready to play the number of games we need them to at the level we need them to."
A FITNESS BOOST FOR LON
“There’s much better news on Luke. There’s always a risk that there could be a recurrence, but we have to take his confidence levels and how far he’s willing to progress it. He’s full of enthusiasm and always wants to do more, but we’re having to put the reigns on him to protect him. If all goes well, I would hope in about 10 days to two weeks he will be available for selection.”