Rochdale v Barnsley: Fatigue threat as Johnson’s Cup heroes expect to face reality check at Spotland

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
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LEE JOHNSON is anxious to avoid an after the ‘Lord Mayor’s Show’ type scenario at Spotland this afternoon.

The Reds head across the Pennines with plenty of praise still ringing in their ears following an invigorating and fearless midweek performance against Merseyside club Everton.

Barnsley may have lost out 5-3 after extra-time in a classic Capital One Cup tie, but their youthful charges secured plenty of kudos in the process in front of a nationwide audience and enhanced their reputations.

The Reds return to the bread-and-butter of league action at Keith Hill’s Dale today, having done the double over the former Barnsley’s chief’s team last term.

While Johnson is appreciative of the plaudits bestowed on his side, he is mindful of the perils of a potential reality check today.

He said: “Saturday will be really tough – and we don’t want it to be a bit after the Lord Mayor’s Show.

“We watched Rochdale on Tuesday and they are a really energetic, dynamic and tough team in the division if they don’t get injuries to key players.

“I think it will be one of our hardest games of the season.”

Given an extra half-hour of football during an intoxicating and emotionally-charged night at Oakwell on Wednesday, Johnson also believes today’s game has become a more strenuous test than he had previously envisaged.

Johnson, whose side were also taken to extra-time in the first round at Scunthorpe added: “This is probably a bigger test in terms of playing well when we have that element of fatigue in our legs.

“I have got some serious decisions to make. It is a big test, but I trust the group.”