Date: 21st January 2016 at 12:16pm
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Manager Lee Johnson has previewed this weekend’s hosting of Keith Hill’s Rochdale side at Oakwell.

Speaking to the Official Site in his pre game press interviews, Johnson said that the aim was obviously to keep our current run of form going so we could pull away from the dropzone a bit more and he wanted a good performance that brought our fourth successive victory – but having said that he knew Rochdale were a tough side and keeping our unbeaten run in 2016 going would be a tough ask.

‘I think we`ve played better away recently but really we`re looking to continue that good performances attacking-wise and defensively and add that bit of creativity to the team. Our dangerous players, Hammill, Watkins, Winnall, will all look to get at their defence. Josh Scowen is looking alright, it`s just trusting his knee but he`s 50/50 for the bench on Saturday. We have just a couple of knocks and niggles but we`re hoping to name a similar squad to last weekend. Harry White is impressing and has all types of finishes. He`s still developing outside the box but if he keeps showing a good attitude he has a good chance of breaking through. I think the lads sometimes get a bit nervous at home and it`s a case of making sure that they don`t by kicking up the Oakwell crowd.’

It’s also a return of Keith Hill to Oakwell and Johnson knew that would add some additional spice for the fans, but for him he admired the way his opposite number goes about his business and the job he’s done with Rochdale once more.

‘I like him a lot because he`s a character, I have a lot of time for him and he`s a very good manager. I know he`s got a lot of history here and is a bit of a marmite character, but come three o`clock Saturday, whatever we`re wearing, the focus will be on the pitch and hopefully we`ll come out on top.’

As for transfers with the earlier announcement of Kevin Long’s loan extension, Johnson said he was confident of maybe adding one or two but more importantly of keeping the current crop together – but as ever you never quite know when you get towards the final week and clubs step up their recruitment chase.

‘Things change quickly. At the moment there`s nothing as far as major spending going on but things change incredibly quickly in this game. There`s always interest in our players because we`ve got lots of young players from Championship and Premier League clubs. We hope to retain all of our players in the January window, unless we get an offer that we cannot turn down. We`ll continue the way we are but we`re always ready to adjust and adapt. Ideally we`d love to keep this group but we`re a club in League One and players may want to move on.’

With Johnson approaching his own anniversary in charge of the club following his arrival from Oldham, he was asked what he felt had changed from now to then in the side and the progress he felt we had made – despite the league troubles this year.

‘I think we`re playing better now than at this point last year and we have had a little bit of luck that we haven`t had earlier on this season. Our last couple of performances have been pretty convincing but we aren`t out of the woods just yet.’

With us not being out of the woods, he does know a solid run of form could see us shoot up the table though and he’d dearly love for that to happen.

‘This division is so open and anyone could go on a run and hopefully it will be us. We`re a bit light in some areas and in a greedy world you`d have two players for every position. Ultimately we have to develop our youth and use the young players sporadically on the bench. You`re assessing the situation every day.’

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