Sheffield Wednesday: Allardyce explains Johnson loan

Roger Johnson with Owls boss Stuart Gray and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes
Roger Johnson with Owls boss Stuart Gray and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has told of the qualities that he admires in former Owls loan star Roger Johnson.

Allardyce wants the centre half’s experience and heading ability to boost the Hammers’ fight against relegation and blunt Manchester City in the Capital One Cup semi-finals.

Big Sam said: “Our central defensive situation has been so difficult recently, it’s one of the reasons why we haven’t achieved the results we wanted.

“All of our other efforts in securing a central defender, prior to knowing Roger was available, were difficult.

“The big thing about Roger is his Premier League experience at Birmingham City; his height in terms of being a central defender, which has been one of our weak points recently; and his desire to come and show that he has still got the capabilities to play at this level.

“He’s also not cup-tied.”

So Allardyce is pleased to be going into one of his team’s biggest games of the season, against City tonight, with a centre-back of Johnson’s experience and ability in the air.

Big Sam also says that City are one of the biggest sides in the top fligght, citing the examples of Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Youre, Vincent Kompany and Matika Nastasic.

“We have to be aerially very competent, and Roger will be a great help in that area,” he added.

“He is very determined and excited about the opportunity he’s got after being frozen out at Wolves and pursuing his career at Sheffield Wednesday recently.”

West Ham have signed Johnson on loan from Wolves for the rest of the season after his Hillsborough loan stay ended.

He looks set make his debut for the Hammers in tonight’s semi-final first leg, with three defenders still sidelined by injuries: Winston Reid (ankle), James Collins (groin) and James Tomkins (groin).

Allardyce is happy with the strong backing that he has received from West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold.