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Gary Johnson's pre-Lincoln away press call in full

6 August 2015

Gary Johnson on the signing of James Rowe:

It was pretty much a formality. He needed the medical anyway, he'd had a slight strain in his thigh but yeah it was a formality really.
The reason I've kept him here since day one with his injury is because we like him as a person, I like him as a player and I think he'll be perfect for our squad and the way we want to play and the shape we want to play.


On JJ Hooper and the 'loan saga':

I'm keen to put JJ Hooper on our books because I feel his gives us that stretch in behind. I've seen a lot of him, more than anyone else probably.
We have followed his career for a little while. He hasn't quite shown the Cheltenham fans that yet, maybe little bits but he will be a very efficeint squad member as well. The board have kindly gone over budget again, for about the fifth time.
And I appreciate it becuase i'm able to convince them that they are going to have a good player in their midst. So I wanted to do that one and hopefully it will be completed some time today.
The saga on the loan player is still ongoing I'm afraid. It certainly doesn't look like that will be done before the start of the season. There's a bit of politics at his club so we either need to wait for that to settle down or go and look for someone else.


On back-up plans:

We haven't just got plans A and B, we've got the whole alphabet lined up! We do know we have people available to us as and when we need them.
Touch wood we don't have any injuries on saturday, but if we did and it was key player and I didn't feel we had anybody in the squad to fill that place, especially at centre half where we are a little short for cover, then we know we can go out and get someone within hours.


On Pre-season:

Pre season has been fantastic. The reason is we got all the boys near enough in from day one. It's 16 signings now and I think we had 14 in from day one of pre season.
That gave me 6 weeks to work with them. Some teams are still making late signings for their starting 11, but we've worked the 6 weeks with what I felt was going to be the starting 11 and that hasn't changed much.
It's turned out really well for us, we've seen what the boys have got and there's a positive mood among the board of directors and the supporters and that's really important for us when we kick-off our home game on tuesday.


On picking a starting XI:

Barring maybe one or two people can pretty much guess what the starting line-up is going to be. Although unfortunately that means so can the opposition probably. We've got to be better than that and we've got to make sure whatever other teams see or think of us we have got to go and perform
and put in that desire and quality that you need to win football matches at any level.


On the importance of a good start and targets:

I don't think games at the start are harder to win, but they could be more important to win. You need a good start, you need 20 points after the first 10 games. That should put you in the top 2 or 3. If you maintain the 2 points per game average throughout the season you'll end up getting promoted probably.
You'll be really unlucky to miss out on 92 points. We have to keep aiming for that 2 point average because you are going to have those games where you don't play very well and lose 1-0 somewhere. That's not a disaster if you can win your next two. If you can get into credit early, ie more than two points a game then that settles you down.
Becasuse if you lose your first two then you've got to win your next 4 to get back into the normal sequence if you want to win the league. SO the start is very important.
All teams have the same targets as well, to score two goals a game and two points a game. 
It's about getting the momentum and keeping the positive feeling. It's also about the confidence, there's great positivity here. The boys are very positive about their teammates, the tactics, they beleive in what we are doing. I know that from the meetings we are having, the DVDs we watch and during training. I'm comfortable that the boys are heading into the games having prepared properly. I'm mentally pretty sharp on what I want them to do. 


On the AFC Wimbledon game:

I don't think it was a reality check. We didn't look at it as if they'd failed. We had a half where the opposition's tactics caused us a problem. So we can learn from that, knowing that if opposition tactics change or are different then we have to deal with it and get our own game going. I felt that we watched them a little bit playing their game rather than us taking over the game early enough.
We totally took over the game in the second half. So I know we can get a reaction from the lads at half time, but sometimes you can't be too angry in the first half. We've got to get them lively and to start well. Not give the opposition and advantage in the first 5 minutes because then you are chasing and the opposition can sit back and pick you off. So our tactics need to be spot on and their concentration is spot on.



On any move movements in or out:

There might be one or two if the right opportunity comes along. I see that some people might be a bit disapointed that some of the younger players have gone out. I have to make a judgement at the start of pre season. The brief is to win the league, we've got to get promoted. I need to bring people in with the experience and the quality, that have played at a higher level, like the younger lads I have brought in who have played in League 1.
I just felt our young lads are not quite there. But i don't want to lose them. I also don't want to build them up all week for a game that they might not play in. So certainly for the first 28 days I want them out getting games. I'm sure they'll blood themselves in during the season when we need them. I want to get the first 28 days out of the way the way, then I can recall them. So if I can do that with as many as possible then it helps me and it helps them. It gives them something at the end of the week.
So we are definitely doing it in a positive sense. Bobbie (Dale), Harry (Williams), James (Bowen), Zack (Zowtica) and maybe Hanksy (Joe Hanks) are all good players and good lads and are still definitely in our plans.



On the deals done over the summer:

As we sit here now I've been really pleased with the business the club has done. I keep saying it, credit to everybody. Obviously we've got some new sponsors in new and the budgets have stayed the same. The board have decided that we can go slightly over because hopefully if we have a good team we'll have higher gates and hopefully a cup run. We've certainly speculated. I've pushed and pushed and am very happy with the work we've done. Credit to the club.



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