Barnsley can reap rewards from loan signings, says Johnson

Dan Crowley.
Dan Crowley.
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Barnsley manager Lee Johnson has defended the club’s use of the loans transfer market over the summer.

The Reds have drafted in five temporary signings, with Arsenal’s highly-coveted teenager Dan Crowley the pick of the bunch.

Other loans include Manchester United duo Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell, Bolton striker Conor Wilkinson and Birmingham City goalkeeper Nick Townsend.

Packing your squad with loan signings can be a sign of covering up a shortfall in budgets, but Johnson believes Barnsley have been shrewd in their business.

“Some people moan about loans, but they have to be careful when they do that,” said Johnson, whose side kick-off the new season at Chesterfield on Saturday.

“We want to make these guys permanent, if possible. I am not saying that will be possible, the players have got to want to come, the clubs have got to want to sell them.

“If they ever became available, we are at the front of the queue, apart from Dan Crowley, who is pretty much seen as a future Arsenal player.

“I am not saying Rothwell, Pearson, Wilkinson and Townsend aren’t, but I think you never with those guys.

“Realistically, they are at the age where if they would have got into the first-team, they would be in at now and competing.

“They are with us now on loan for a reason, and we like them. If there’s ever an opportunity to bring those guys in on a permanent, then we will.”

Townsend’s arrival means Johnson may be willing to allow rookie goalkeeper Christian Dibble to depart on loan to gain some first-team experience.

Johnson said: “He (Townsend) is a good goalkeeper, we have seen that already in training. A great shot-stopper, kicks well, talks well, a lot of attributes which we are looking for.

“Dibble has a career-path, and for him right now that’s getting men’s games. He’s done very well physically over the summer - I have pushed him - and he looks in good shape.

“He has undoubted quality, but every now and again he gets sloppy.

“If he has the carrot of three points at the end of the week, something to focus on, that will shape his mind and focus, albeit at a lower level, to see if he can handle it.”

With a youthful squad, Johnson knows consistency will be something he must strive to achieve at Oakwell over the coming months.

“They are young people, so it’s up and down,” he said. “We had one of the best sessions I have ever seen on Monday, then on Tuesday it was awful.

“I had them in and showed them - we video all of our sessions - the difference between the two sessions.

“It’s having the consistency in your performance, but also your personality. Older players sometimes give you that consistent personality.

“We hope we don’t have an off days, but the likelihood is - if we do well in the cups - we could be playing anywhere north of 52 games this season. It’s up to us to manage that.

“League One is very tough, not only physically demanding, but mentally demanding.”