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Development Squad

Damien: Second half improvement was pleasing

Johnson's side went four points clear at the top of the table with win over Reading

9 February 2018

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Rovers Under-23s chief Damien Johnson admitted he was happy with what he saw from his side as they brushed aside Reading Under-23s at the Lancashire FA HQ in Leyland.

Another three points mean it's now three wins from their last three games and Johnson's troops cemented their place at the summit of the Premier League 2 table with the 2-0 win over the Royals.

And after the game, he confessed he was left content with the second half improvement from his team, who upped the gears after the break to get two goals - from Dan Butterworth and Joe Nuttall - to earn the victory.

"Overall I'm really pleased. We tried to play and knew it would be a tough game. We started it well, created chances but didn't take them," Damien said honestly.

"In the second half we started positively, got the goal and then got the second at a good time. There were lots of positives. We spoke at half time about tidying up a few things and wanted to be more clinical. In the second half we got the breakthrough and it's always nice to get the cushion with the second goal.

"Joe [Nuttall] showed great bravery and desire to get the goal, which is what all good strikers should do. He was prepared to take a kick, get hit and he got his reward with the goal. He's a brave kid and thankfully he's fine.

"There were some good performances throughout the team. Chiori [Johnson] has been with us this week and played well. That's what we're looking for from him and the lads.

And once again, Johnson hammered home the fact that player development is his main priority rather than points on the board, despite his side going four points clear at the top of the table and with a game in hand on the chasing pack.

"At Under-23 level our job is about developing players rather than winning leagues, winning games. However, if we are doing the development side of things right then the results will come.

"The players are developing and we're looking to get them in and around the first team."

Damien's side are next in action on Monday at Watford in the Premier League Cup, kick-off 7pm.

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