Johnson’s goalkeeping options are multiplied

BARNSLEY head coach Lee Johnson is set to be handed a pleasurable goalkeeping conundrum ahead of tomorrow’s lunch-time derby with Sheffield United at Oakwell.

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson is pleased he has three goalkeepers from which to pick (Picture: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire).

After a mini-goalkeeping crisis ahead of last weekend’s League One trip to leaders Bristol City when Ross Turnbull and Adam Davies were both sidelined and Christian Dibble was on Wales Under-21 international duty, Johnson’s hand could be bolstered seven days on.

Davies could feature after missing last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Ashton Gate with an abdominal injury, a game in which loanee Joe Wildsmith made his debut after joining on a youth loan from Sheffield Wednesday.

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Third-choice goalkeeper Dibble is also available again for Johnson, who confirmed that highly-rated teenager James Bree has returned to light training and could be available in a few weeks.

Turnbull and Paul Digby are sidelined for Barnsley, who are seeking their first double over the Blades since 1996-97, the year they were promoted to the top-flight.

Johnson, who said that Mason Holgate should be fit for tomorrow’s eagerly-awaited clash, said: “Adam is doing very well. Obviously, when we had him scanned he had a small tear, which was a week to 10 days (out) really.

“We brought Joe in and he has done excellently. But Davo has been chomping at the bit really and a bit frustrated we have held him back.

“He has been out there training and it is not so much the training, but the kicking due to the nature of the injury and goalkeepers on average kick 50 to 70 times a game over long distances and that’s really the issue.

“But he could be (available) and we will get him out (today) and see how he is.

“All of a sudden, from no options, we have three options which is good.

“Joe has done very well and looked very good in training and you can tell why he is highly regarded as a young goalkeeper and I have no fears of him playing.

On Bree’s return from a back injury, he added: “It is nice to see James back on the training ground. I was well pleased with that and he was chuffed as well.

“Although we will take it easy with him and he won’t be ready for a couple of weeks yet.”