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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

AJ in confident mood
By Oliver Bhurrut

ANDY Johnson believes Albion are heading in the right direction despite last
Saturday's heart-breaking 3-2 defeat at Portsmouth.

The recently retired Wales international was a mainstay in the Baggies side
who were relegated from the Barclays Premiership two seasons ago.

But he claims new boss Bryan Robson is already beginning to mould an Albion
side capable of climbing off the foot of the table and beating the drop as
they prepare to entertain tenth-placed Charlton tomorrow (Saturday, ko 3pm).

"Managers have different styles," said Johnson.

"We thought it would be different and I think the lads enjoy that and the
challenge. They can see the results - we are coming off the pitch playing
much better.

"It's very positive. Things are going well.

"Obviously we are looking to get the first win under our belt with the new

"I'm sure it's not long coming. We've played some really good stuff and had
some decent results so it won't be far away.

"We do look at the league table and think we are playing better than that.
That's why we're not getting too down.

"We are playing good football but we're confident results will improve. One
win, two wins and you're mid-table.

"That was the frustrating thing from the Portsmouth game - if we had won
that game we would have pushed up. It was a double blow.

"We didn't have many players with Premiership experience last time.

"Perhaps there were occasions where some of the lads were a little
overawed - but this time we have more experience and players who know what
it's about.

"I'd like to think we don't give people too much respect anymore.

"We are much more confident this time round. No disrespect to the lads who
were here then but we have a much better squad than two years ago."

The 30-year-old midfielder has welcomed the return to fitness of Cosmin
Contra in time for tomorrow's clash against the Addicks.

The Romanian international, who was handed his Barclays Premiership debut by
Robson after his August transfer deadline day Hawthorns switch, missed last
Saturday's trip to Fratton Park with a groin injury.

Johnson added: "Cos didn't really get a look in when he first came to the

"It must have been difficult for him because he's a player of international
quality, been through some big money moves so it must have been frustrating
for him.

"But he got his chance and he's grabbed it with both hands. I've been very
impressed with him.

"It's difficult to judge people in training sometimes. You can get someone
who looks a world beater in training, but you don't see it on the pitch. And
some are the other way round.

"It was difficult to judge Cos because of that - I never judge anyone on how
they train.

"Saturday is where you earn your crust and I played with him in the Boro
game and he was fantastic, dancing and jinking through people - he was

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #2

AJ out for three weeks
ALBION have been boosted by the news Andy Johnson has not suffered long-term damage to his right knee.

There were concerns the all-action midfielder may face a lengthy spell on the sidelines after being stretchered off at Fulham in the 70th minute following a late challenge by Luis Boa Morte.

But a scan revealed Johnson has damaged medial - not the more troublesome cruciate - ligaments and will only be sidelined for around three weeks.

The former Wales international had begun to form a promising central midfield partnership with the recently-recalled Ronnie Wallwork.

And the news has come as a big relief to boss Bryan Robson.

He said: "It's good news on Andy.

"He hasn't done any serious damage to his cruciate ligaments or anything like that, which we were a bit concerned about.

"He has damaged medial ligaments but should only be out for around three weeks."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Bryan Robson revealed after his side's agonising defeat to Norwich that Andy
Johnson will play no further part in their relegation battle.

Welsh international midfielder Johnson has been out of action since picking
up a knee injury against Fulham and his period of inactivity has been
extended to the summer.

"When Andy had keyhole surgery there was more damage than we first thought,
so he is out for the rest of the season," said a disappointed Robson.

The news comes as a savage blow to Robson who must rally his troops
following their agonising defeat to fellow strugglers Norwich.

Robson's side led twice at Carrow Road, but succumbed to a late strike from
Damien Francis.

The Baggies remain bottom and are running out of time to mount a revival,
but Robson is refusing to throw in the towel.

"We played some terrific football but we are not good on basic defending and
if we want to stay in this division we have got to get better at it - or we
will go down," he said.

"We played some terrific football today but as soon as we give a free kick
away suddenly everybody is on edge. We couldn't deal with it and that is

"But there are 12 games to go and we are five points behind the
fourth-bottom team.

"There are a lot of points to play for. You look at the fixtures ahead and
there are some good home games, but that said we have still got to defend
better as a team."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #4

AJ looking forward
ANDY Johnson insisted Saturday's 2-1 win against Portsmouth was the perfect
way to draw a line under his injury nightmare.

The Baggies midfielder played his first competitive match since suffering a
serious knee injury at Craven Cottage more than seven months ago.

And, despite being obviously delighted to pull off the Great Escape last
season, it is one campaign Johnson would rather forget after being forced to
watch from the sidelines.

"It's terrific to be playing again," he said.

"It was my first competitive game for around seven months and I'm delighted.

"I've played pre-season games but there is nothing like playing at home in
front of your supporters in the Premiership to get the adrenalin going.

"I just want to forget about last season now. I've recovered from injury and
I just want to look forward to the exciting season we have in front of us."

Johnson lasted the full 90 minutes against Pompey and he exemplified
Albion's grit and determination as much as anyone.

He was also thrilled for Geoff Horsfield who reacted to being recalled to
the squad by firing two goals.

"Geoff's been in good form in pre-season and I'm pleased for him," Johnson

"They were well worked goals but we know we can play better as well.

"They threw a couple of big boys on and got it up there in the second half
but I thought we defended well again.

"That's what teams to do and maybe last season we would have drawn or lost
the game but it shows how far we have come as a club, team and squad.

"We dug in and at one stage Kevin Campbell was back heading the ball out of
our six-yard box.

"To have a centre-forward back there shows what spirit we have and the big
effort we're all making."

The Baggies head to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (ko 7.45pm), lying seventh
in the table with four points from two games.

But the former Wales international warned: "We can't get carried away.

"We've had a good start and we can aim to build on that but it's still going
to be a long, difficult season and everybody will play their part.

"It will be a difficult game on Wednesday.

"They have spent a lot of money in the summer and bought some fantastic

"But last season we went away to Arsenal, when they were champions, and we
got a good draw.

"We'll head down there full of confidence, there is no need to be scared,
and we'll see what happens."

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

No Go On Johnson Deal

A lack of money to pay for Andy Johnson's wages have scuppered Micky
Adams hopes of signing the West Brom player.

Said Adams to the CET: "That deal's dead. "Andy Johnson wanted to come
to this football club but West Brom wanted us to pay his full wages, which
is their prerogative."

Following the defeat by Crystal Palace, there have been calls on some
of the City supporter message boards for Adams to give the younger players a
chance, whilst others posts indicate that the City manager no longer has the
full support of the Sky Blue Army that he once enjoyed.
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