Chesterfield v Barnsley: Don’t judge us at first sight, insists Johnson

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson
Barnsley manager Lee Johnson
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson is refusing to use today’s League One opener against Chesterfield as a yardstick for the Tykes’ promotion ambitions.

Last season the Spireites reached the play-offs, but Johnson knows the first game of the season is like a one-off cup final.

Barnsley have assembled a youthful-looking squad over the summer, and much will depend on how quickly they can gel.

But Johnson knows from recent experience a good start to the season is not vital. Last year his Oldham side failed to win in their opening four League One games, but were in play-off contention come Christmas time.

“I don’t think it’s a massive yardstick, it’s a cup final mentality the first game of the season,” said Johnson.

“The build-up is like a cup final and sometimes you can be extremely high, falsely, or extremely low – and that can be wrong as well.

“Whatever happens, it’s just early days. Last season at Oldham was a good example. We didn’t win in four, then ended up going on an unbeaten run to get up into the play-off positions.

“You want to get a good start, of course you do, so we go into the game with nothing to fear.”

Barnsley will field a much-changed line-up today, with the option of five new loan signings – Dan Crowley, Ben Pearson, Joe Rothwell, Conor Wilkinson and Nick Townsend. Johnson is not ruling out more permanent additions before the end of the month.

“I wouldn’t say we are really close, but we have conversations going on with a number of clubs on players for a number of positions,” he said.

“We will just have to see what happens, but at the moment the focus has to be on Chesterfield.

“The first week of the season is a great week, everyone is excited, the players are buzzing, and we just can’t wait to get underway.”