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Lee Johnson set for Wembley to watch Barnsley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final

2 April 2016

Recently-departed Barnsley boss Lee Johnson will be in attendance at Wembley Stadium on Sunday to watch his former side take on Oxford United in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Final.

Johnson left Oakwell in February to take the reigns at Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship, having previously guided the Tykes all the way to the Trophy final.

The 34-year-old has kept in close contact with everyone at the club since leaving, and will be watching on in the company of the club's owner this weekend.

"I still have regular contact with Patrick Cryne and have been invited as his guest, which is a nice gesture. He's a good friend and a very knowledgeable human being in all walks of life," he said.

"I speak to my former assistant Tommy Wright a lot too, who's still doing and excellent job alongside Paul Heckingbottom. They're good people at Barnsley and you try and stay in touch with them for that reason above all. I'm looking forward to being at Wembley today to watch them in the final."

After a difficult first half of the season, which saw Barnsley stoop to an eight-game losing run, the Tykes are now making an assault on the Sky Bet League 1 Play-Off places, alongside their quest for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.

Having endured those tough times, Johnson never lost faith in his squad's ability to turn their fortunes around, and says he knew all along that it was only a matter of time before the results came good.

"In fairness to everybody at the club, myself included, it was a really difficult summer," he added.

"We signed some really good players and because it was such a turnaround, with a lot of individuals still on Championship wages from the year they came down, it was tough. We worked our socks off, but it quickly became apparent that it was going to take three windows to build the squad that we wanted.

"In the end, we probably did it in two. We'd brought in about seven players and had injuries to some of our big ones like Conor Hourihane. It was difficult because you can only play five loanees in a matchday squad too.

"Once the injuries passed and we got a few bad performances out of the way, we actually played well. But it seemed one silly mistake would always cost us a game, and we were punished.

"We knew we could turn it around, and when we did, we never looked back. We just kept on winning, and they players were so confident. It all came together eventually."

Now following in his father Gary's footsteps in the managerial role at Ashton Gate, Johnson has settled into life well at the Robins, despite him having to move quickly to secure results.

Since joining, he's won five out of a possible eight games to ensure City steered clear of the relegation places, and hopes to officially secure Championship status again in the coming weeks.

"I was here for six-and-a-half years as a player and was here with Yeovil for four years. So I know this part of the country well. I'm set-up to know my way around.

"I have family down here, and now I'm just waiting for my little girl to finish school in the summer, and then she and my wife can come down and join me permanently.

"It's an important time for us, these next three or four weeks. We've got to make sure we really see it through. We've had some good wins since I've come in, which is good, but it means nothing if you don't keep picking up results.

"The players have been great. I've enjoyed working with a really good bunch of people and it's always nice to enjoy your workplace. Hopefully we can end our season on a high now."

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