Johnson won'f fear going up in the world

David Cuffley Striker Oli Johnson has no fears about moving up another division if and when Norwich City regain Championship status.The 22-year-old was given only his second start for the Canaries, and his 13th appearance in all, in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient.

David Cuffley

Striker Oli Johnson has no fears about moving up another division if and when Norwich City regain Championship status.

The 22-year-old was given only his second start for the Canaries, and his 13th appearance in all, in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient.

For Johnson, who arrived at Carrow Road in January and has scored three vital League One goals, it has been a rapid climb up the football ladder. Just two seasons ago, he was playing for Nostell Miners Welfare in the Northern Counties East League Division One, the ninth tier of the English game.


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But the Wakefield-born forward is taking it all in his stride as Paul Lambert's men try to secure the points needed to guarantee promotion.

He said: “It's been extremely exciting and enjoyable and I'm really pleased I've been given this opportunity. I'd like to think I've done fairly well at taking it.

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“I've loved every minute of the last four months, working with the gaffer, the coaches and all the players. They've been fantastic for me and I'm hoping to kick on and carry on and forge a successful career here at Norwich.”

If City go up, Johnson will not lose any sleep over the prospect of taking on Championship opposition.

“It's another step up for me but it doesn't worry me because I've stepped up probably six or seven leagues in the last 18 months so this is one more. There's no reason why I can't step up another division,” he said.

“You take it in your stride. There is no point being daunted by it all. You just have to get on with it, not really think much about the step up and the huge games - just play it like any other game I've ever played. And it helps to have the quality of players around you because they help you a lot on the pitch, to settle into the team and play your own game.”

Johnson admitted he was not at his best at Orient, when he was asked to play at the tip of a diamond formation behind front pair Chris Martin and Stephen Elliott.

He said: “I was delighted to get a start and for the manager to show that faith in me. I've played in that position before.

“I feel, the way the game was, they suckered us into playing their long-ball sort of game. It's not our style and I thought they dragged us down to that style of play. I think we know we can all perform better, individually and as a team.

“I maybe didn't do myself justice on Tuesday, not through lack of effort but maybe because of the way the game went. I feel maybe I could have got on the ball more. It was difficult but it's something I'll learn from and put down to experience.

“I don't mind where I play - where the manager picks me I'm happy to play. I feel I can play in a variety of different positions. Apart from actually playing up front, I can play out wide and behind the front two or as a lone striker.”

With City still top of the table ahead of today's trip to Charlton, Johnson said they should not be the team feeling the pressure.

“We should still enjoy it. We're trying to stop this anxiety creeping in. Maybe it did a little bit on Tuesday,” he said.

“We had a little meeting on Thursday morning before training and we all spoke out, our opinions on Tuesday's game and the rest of the season - how we can improve mentally and on the pitch as well. I think a lot of positive things were said.

“Not every week, but at certain points of the season after certain games, maybe after a bad result, we like to sit down and speak about the game - everyone gets their opinions out in the open and I think it seems to help.

“I just spoke about how the pressure's on the other teams in the chasing pack. They're the teams who can't afford to drop any points whatever if they're going to overhaul us. I don't think the pressure's on us. Although we know we could get promotion with a couple of wins, we're looking to win every single game for the rest of the season.”

City had not lost two successive league games this season before today's trip to The Valley.

“It doesn't surprise me that we've not lost two games consecutively,” said Johnson. “I think it's that mental strength to bounce back from a defeat. I've definitely seen it in the lads - the character that they've shown in games.”

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