Barnsley: Johnson backs faith in youth policy to reap rewards

Ryan Williams will miss out for the Reds today due to a groin injury
Ryan Williams will miss out for the Reds today due to a groin injury

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson is quietly confident his youth policy will pay dividends at Oakwell this season.

Johnson is a firm believer in developing young talent – and that’s been proven in his summer recruitment drive.

A host of highly-rated youngsters have joined the club – five of them on loan – with the view to playing an attractive, vibrant brand of football this season in League One.

“I feel Barnsley, as a club, have maybe gone for names in the past who are not there for the right reasons,” revealed Johnson.

“But with this group, well hopefully they’re the names of the future. Hopefully we can catch people by surprise with our quality.

“As far as experience goes, well maybe we’ll need more this season, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

“Experienced players definitely have a value. We’ve got a few with Lewin Nyatanga and we’re looking to buy one or two.

“It’s not a case of not wanting experience players, it’s a case of getting that blend and fitting together the jigsaw for the division.

“We feel it’s a tough league and that we’ll need a lot of energy to play our brand of football, so that’s the main reason we’ve gone for a lot of young, hungry players.

“We’ve got a good infrastructure, good facilities and we’ve got an owner [Patrick Cyrne] that is very positive.

“He’s a fan and he has been for many years. He’s desperate to do well.

“If we can show we’re up there competing with the top teams in the division, well then I’m sure that he’ll invest again.

“Everybody has expectations and everybody has dreams and aspirations, so the communication with the owner is vital.”

New signing Ryan Williams is the only player missing for today’s away clash with Chesterfield, the former Fulham winger absent with a groin injury.

But influential midfielder Conor Hourihane and star striker Sam Winnall are both now back to full fitness and both expected to start today.

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