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Johnson: Derbies are all about passion and I know the lads are looking forward to it

31 October 2023

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Fleetwood Town boss Lee Johnson sat down with BBC Radio Lancashire on Tuesday afternoon to preview Wednesday night's Fylde Coast Derby against rivals Blackpool.

Following two games on the road last week, which saw Town pick up three points at Reading in midweek and a point away at high-flying Barnsley, the manager sat down with the media to discuss his sides preparations, talk on those knocks and niggles from the weekend and how the fans play a huge role in the result come Wednesday night.

Johnson was critical of his side at Oakwell, but knows there's much more to come from his players and knows this game can be the catalyst for the group if they're wanting to climb up the Sky Bet League One table.

Here's some of the quotes from Lee's pre-match interview, with the full video now available on iFollow.

On team news…

“There are a lot of mitigating factors and reasons why some players went off at the weekend. We travelled down to Reading on Tuesday night and the boys didn’t get back until 4am, and there was a huge output during the match against Reading.

“For Brendan [Wiredu], Saturday was his second game within a week and he picked up a version of cramp as did Shaun Rooney, but for Junior [Quitirna], it is a bit more substantial than that. We are getting too many cramps on 65-70 minutes and as I have suggested to the lads, with the new rules, we are playing 100 minute games now so it’s not just the physical fitness, it’s the mental fitness and the concentration.

“With Junior, it’s a huge loss. I have been so pleased and proud of Junior, but he has pulled his hamstring and that does put him out of contention for a period of time now, but we’re still in the process of assessing how long that time is. This now gives us the chance to educate Junior on all the things outside of the pitch, and it also gives someone an opportunity to step into his place.”

On taking four points from the last six…

“People say it’s a good sign if you’re picking up points and you don’t feel like you’re playing well. I think we have played well, and I don’t want to sound really negative. We defended really well, but it’s the ability to change from having fire in the belly to someone getting their foot on the ball and trusting the quality we have on show.

“I have such belief for this group of players and that’s why I was disappointed at the weekend as I don’t want us defending as much as we did if we show that quality. I also have huge belief in the keepers, and with Jay Lynch I think we have one of the best goalkeepers in the division when it comes to playing out from the back so we always have that option if needed.”

On the match against Blackpool…

“This is the right game for us. The confidence is building here with the performance structure, so the good thing is the lads know the terminology, they know how we speak and communicate so it’s clear when stuff goes well and when it doesn’t.

“We have a sell-out stadium on Wednesday night and I am really looking forward to the atmosphere that can be created in the stands. You thrive on it as a player and as a manager, but it’s slightly different for us managers as you need to look at reference points in the game and you’re always looking at the tactical elements.

“Derbies are about passion, passion from the fans and also about the stadium being full whether that’s 100,000 at Wembley or 6,000 at Fleetwood and it’s all important and it will give us the buzz of a big game and we want to have as many sell-outs as we can. This is a game I know the lads are really looking forward to showing their best.”

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