Grateful Johnson glad to be playing for Lions again

Oli Johnson

Oli Johnson

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IT may have been a tough old start to the season for Guiseley, but one player is entitled to a few crumbs of consolation.

Step forward Oli Johnson, with the attacker having already started more National League games – six – than he managed in the whole of 2015-16.

The former Norwich City player has suffered his fair share of injury woes in the past few years with a long-standing groin problem followed by issues with his hip and knee, but touch wood, he is hoping that is all now a thing of the past.

And if it can contribute to yielding a much-needed renaissance after a forgettable beginning to 2016-17 for rock-bottom Guiseley, so much the better.

Johnson said: “Last year was a horrible time and I am just fortunate that I have got back playing as at one point, I thought it was not going to be the case.

“Even though it has been tough this season, I am really enjoying my football and while I am not quite completely 100 per cent, I am confident I will get back to full tilt and after playing ninety minutes some weeks, I am optimistic.

“Fingers crossed, I’m over the worst of it, although I am not quite where I want to be yet.”

Admitting he fears his career was over in the midst of his first bad injury, he added: “When I was out for 18 months, I thought there was a good chance I was done as I couldn’t run and break out of a jog.

“I managed to get back from that, but when the knee problem came. it was so tough to deal with. It was a tough time personally and I had to dig deep mentally to get through it and thankfully I have and I can’t think the club enough for looking after me and I owe Bowzer (Mark Bower) as he had faith in me. Some managers would have lost faith with me.”

From the team perspective, Johnson is now hoping to do his bit to help the Lions resurrect their season, with the club still without a league win heading into their tenth match of the season this evening at Chester.

The picture may look bleak, but Johnson believes that the season can be salvaged, while praising the impact of caretaker-boss Adam Lockwood.

Johnson said: “We never expected to struggle like we have done after pre-season. But we have been unfortunate in a lot of the games and have paid for late goals and lapses in concentration and have probably shot ourselves in the foot a little bit.

“Looking at the league table, obviously we look like a bad side. But I don’t think that tells the full story.

“A lot of games have been tight and we have let in late goals or not taken key chances.

“If you go into the lead, it can be a different game. But we do feel we have got the players to get ourselves out of it and I think it is only a matter of time until we put a mini-run together and we can definitely dig ourselves out of it.

“Locky has come in and we have tightened defensively, which was the main problem in the first few games. That has given us a bit more confidence.

“Now we have done that, we can maybe try and reflect ourselves a bit more going forward after stopping the rot a little bit in terms of conceding.

“Locky has come in with a few different ideas and freshened it up a little bit as we were lacking a bit of confidence.

“Training has changed a little bit and he has been good since he has come in and I think he can turn things around.”

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