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Gaffer encouraged by friendly display at Albion

3 July 2018


Gaffer encouraged by friendly display at Albion

3 July 2018

Manager Gary Johnson admits he has been pleased by the promise shown by his Robins in the early stages of pre-season - after an impressive display in a behind closed doors friendly fixture at West Brom on Tuesday afternoon.

Johnson used the training game at Albion's HQ as a chance to give his new-look squad an early season run-out and they shone in sweltering conditions.

A particularly impressive first half saw the Robins show real organisation and shape against a West Brom team full of first team players - with Mo Eisa grabbing a deserved goal for a half-time lead.

Albion eventually ran out 3-1 winners in the second half of the clash, but Johnson was delighted to see his new look line-up show such early season promise.

"It was a great exercise for us to come and play West Brom and we take a huge amount from the game. We thank Albion for the game and the strength of the team they selected, particularly in the first half.

"The first half was a magnificent performance from us, considering where we are in pre-season. I don't want to go over the top, but we faced off against some big hitters and the boys coped well to take a lead into the break.

"Both teams made a lot of changes, they bought on their Under-23s and we used the whole squad and a few younger lads in the second half.

"It was great to see players like Fozzie (Jordon Forster), Daws (Kevin Dawson) and Toz (Ben Tozer) who needed the minutes as they come back from injuries.

"It gives me more information as to who our starting eleven might be. There were two or three lads in the second half that did very well to go with the lads who did well first half.

"It was a good day for us and really encouraging for the rest of pre-season."

The Robins now head to a training camp in Leicestershire and Johnson is eager to build on what he has seen in the first week of pre-season.

"The shape and organisation that we showed against West Brom was a real positive," he said.

"We've only been together for less than a week, but we looked sharp and the ones that needed to look fit did just that.

"It's a great experience for us to come up against the likes of Gareth Barry, who is the leading appearance maker in the Premier League, and yet we didn't let their midfield run the game.

"With the quality that they have got they are going to cause any team problems, but we dealt with it. We had to improve on our defence from last season and the early signs are promising.

"We have some big games coming up now," he added. "I know that Bristol City are going to put up a strong team next week - Lee is taking this Johnson Cup seriously!

"But today has been a great exercise for the boys. We showed how to stay in a game but also cause them problems.

"It's a starting point to grow from and we still have many pre-season games to come.

"We will learn a bit more each time, but for a first game - and we are not getting carried away because we haven't won any points yet - we have gained some respect.

"You want your players to respect each other too, to look forward to playing with each other and team-mates they know they can trust."

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