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League One

Oldham Athletic manager Lee Johnson rues James Tarkowski situation

21 February 2014

Lee Johnson has revealed his disappointment that Brentford defender James Tarkowski almost certainly will not be back at Oldham, but admits he is not totally surprised.

When Tarkowski joined the Bees in the dying days of the January transfer window, Latics were assured that the 21-year-old would be back at Boundary Park on a loan deal when the window reopened.

However, such a move is still yet to materialise with Brentford adamant that injuries in their central-defensive region mean Tarkowski must remain with them.

Johnson was ready to admit defeat last week and he was unable to provide any positive news this week either.

"No, there's no change in that," he said of Tarkowski's possible return.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with it because you plan for something and it gets taken away from you. I'm disappointed because I could see it coming. It's a funny one. I can't really delve too much into it but it's just a learning curve...but not for me."

Asked whether their Sky Bet League One rivals had gone back on their word in refusing to let Tarkowski back out on loan, Johnson simply said: "You'll have to ask (Oldham chairman) Simon Corney that one."

Nevertheless, Johnson notes there is still a need to strengthen that area, even if the arrivals of James Wilson and Adam Lockwood have given Latics a solid backbone.

"Yes, there is, but not at the moment," Johnson added when asked whether his back four was an area he could look to reinforce.

"We'll just have to see what happens. We have our list of targets but it's more likely to be a loan. You have to adjust depending on who went down - if Jonathan Grounds went down you could either have a left-back in and have a centre-half or if Lockwood went down you'd need a different type of player.

"All we can do is be ready with a list of opportunities and then if something does go wrong, because there is a lot of games in this period, then we're ready to pull the trigger with something."

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