Tinkerman Johnson won’t allow Oldham to stand still as playoff hunt continues

Lee Johnson says constantly changing his Oldham Athletic side is one of the reasons they are buzzing in League One this season as they prepare to take on Crawley Town at the weekend.

The Latics have lost just once in their last fifteen fixtures in all competitions, and face Crawley at 1pm on Saturday after the game was moved forward. 

Johnson brought in Daniel Johnson from Aston Villa, one of Crawley boss John Gregory’s past managerial posts, and believes he may need to bring more players into the club.

“I’m always looking to bring players in,” said Johnson. “The nature of a football club is that you try and get better. You lose the ones on the bottom and try and get better on the top and everyone shuffles down one.

“That is what you have to do because if you don’t, you just stand still. If you go into any football club, you have to see progression and if you don’t, you are standing still. We are out there with the team people are buzzing about.”

Johnson may be handed his first start after arriving on loan, while George Elokobi (thigh) and Genseric Kusunga (international duty) both miss out.

Despite injury-hit Crawley’s poor form, with just one win in their last seven, Johnson believes his troops will have to be at their best tomorrow.

“It is not about what they do, and it is about us. We are in good form at the moment and the players are confident,” he said.

“They know the system, know the shape and we can change that if we need to. We start from a position of strength so it’s up to the players to turn up on the day. If they don’t, we will get beat.”

Johnson was full of praise for Red Devils’ manager Gregory, and believes his opposite number may have the experience to offer Oldham a tough game.

“I know John Gregory and he is a very good manager. I think they have got two or three injuries and I think Izale McLeod is suspended but Gregory is a good manager,” he said.

“I’ve come against him and only known him a short period of time but you can tell. He will have a group coming up here to win the game and he will have a plan for that. It is up to us and our players to do our best and win. 

“It is important that he gets a team out to win the game and that is what I expect him to do. He will do anything to get his team prepared and whether that be a loan signing or promoting a youth team, he will have a game plan.”

Oldham will return to the play-off positions if they win – a feat they achieved at the end of October before defeat to Bristol City two weeks ago saw them drop out.

“We have to adjust for it but it is not a bad thing. It is a good thing in the fact that if we win this game, we will go fourth. Whether it be for two hours, that is the challenge for the lads,” Johnson said. 

“It will be up to them to show if they want it with the energy and tempo.”

Crawley are without striker Izale McLeod who is serving a one-match ban, Gavin Tomlin, Lanre Oyebanjo and Ryan Dickson are all injury doubts, while defender Dean Leacock is available to return after suspension.

Main image courtesy of Official OAFC via YouTube, with thanks.

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