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Development Squad

This is a special group, says Johnson

The Under-23s boss praises his players as they close in on the title with victory at Wolves

27 March 2018

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Rovers Under-23s boss Damien Johnson was full of praise for his side following Monday's win at Wolves, and has challenged the players to move up yet another gear.

Goals from Willem Tomlinson, Tyler Magloire and Joe Nuttall were enough to seal an impressive victory under the lights at Molineux, with the added bonus of an eighth clean sheet in 10 games.

The young Blues now sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table with just three games to play... no wonder the manager is happy!

“They are good kids first and foremost," Johnson told reporters after the game.

“You have to keep on top of them but they do drive themselves and drive the standard within the group. It’s important and they have to keep doing that.

"Their challenge is to push on to the next level and none of them have really done anything yet, a few appearances here and there.

“They have to show Tony Mowbray that he can trust them on a regular basis and it’s not easy to do that given the quality we have in the first team.

“They have to keep showing at this level they are better than the opposition and hopefully when opportunities do come they are ready to take it.

As for the game itself, Johnson said his side had to be clinical, and was pleased to have Nuttall available again, as the striker scored his 20th goal of the campaign.

“Opportunities were going to be few and far between because of how Wolves were set up," he added.

“Willem’s strike from the edge of the box, he caught it really cleanly and he can do that.

“He has a good shot on him, he has good technique and can strike the ball well.

“We’ve been challenging the midfield players to add a bit more productivity in that final third and try and get goals and assists.

"You can’t always rely on your attackers, particularly with the balance we’ve had recently.

“We had Joe back but previous games we’ve only had one attacking player available and it was about where the goals were going to come from.

“Itchy [Lewis Hardcastle] could have scored a couple, he was getting in to those areas and Willem applied the finish for his.

“I think they paid us a lot of respect in how they set up. They allowed us to have a lot of the ball and sat in and tried to make it difficult for us.

“We had to be patient, move it quickly and wait for our opportunities and capitalise on them when they came.

“We did create and got the goal at a good time but 1-0 at half-time is always a precarious lead but we got the second and third thankfully."

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