BARNSLEY head coach Lee Johnson admits his squad options have left him with a welcome selection quandary ahead of today’s game with Micky Mellon’s Shrewsbury Town.
Johnson’s only major absentee is Conor Wilkinson, on international duty with the Republic of Ireland, but that loss has been mitigated by the availability of new loan forward Michael Smith and Simeon Jackson, who has joined on a short-term deal.
Johnson said: “It’s a great problem to have and one I am pleased that I am in as, previously, it has been quite easy to pick a team.
“Now it is going to be difficult and I am going to have to manage my players very well.
“I think people see that when we play with energy, we are very good. When we don’t, we are very bad.
“There’s going to have to be a fine line and I am going to have to be brave and bold and sometimes go against the grain to pick games with that energy. Because that is so important to our style.”
Today’s game is the third successive occasion in which the Reds have faced a side managed by a former Oakwell chief after facing Mark Robins’s Scunthorpe United and Keith Hill’s Rochdale in the past week.
Now it is the turn of the Shrews, managed by Mellon, who spent a short spell in caretaker charge at Oakwell in the early winter of 2013 after being No 2 under David Flitcroft.
Despite the Shropshire side’s winless start to the League One campaign, Johnson says they are better than their results suggest. He continued: “It is another really tough game. I know they haven’t picked up a league win yet, but I have watched their last three or four games on DVD and I like them.
“I think they will have a good season. They have just had a poor start and we have got to capitalise on that.”