Daniel Johnson relieved to be back in action – and among the goals – for Preston North End

Seven weeks of frustration has given way to six points for Daniel Johnson – and the Preston midfielder could not be more delighted.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 6:00 am
Preston midfielder Daniel Johnson is back in action after a knee injury

Johnson was sidelined for most of December and the early part of this month with a knee ligament injury.

But he has been back with a bang for the last two games, North End winning both.

Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Charlton was followed by the 3-0 win against Barnsley on Tuesday night, Johnson on target with the second goal at Oakwell.

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Beating Barnsley moved PNE back into the top six ahead of a free weekend.

Johnson said: “Being in the play-off positions is important to bring more confidence to the squad.

“We’d had a few results not go our way but we’ve won two on the bounce now. This division is all about momentum – once you find that you go into Saturday and Tuesday full of confidence.

“The two wins have done us good and now we can rest up ready to play Swansea a week on Saturday.”

Until the Charlton game, Johnson had not played since the 1-0 home defeat to West Bromwich Albion at the start of December.

He hyper-extended his left knee making a challenge against the Baggies, straining a ligament.

Said Johnson: “It has been frustrating on a personal level, being out for seven weeks isn’t nice.

“It’s hard to watch from the stand at home games or listen to the away games.

“The plan now is to stay fit for the rest of the season and add my little bit to the team.”

Johnson’s goal at Barnsley kept him on a par with Tom Barkhuizen in the North End scoring charts.

Both are on nine goals for the campaign, Barkhuizen having scored twice in the Oakwell clash.

All of Johnson’s goals have come in the league, though, with Barkhuizen netting two of his in the League Cup.

Looking back on Tuesday’s win, Johnson said: “It felt good being out there.

“We went with a game plan to match them up, fight fire with fire if you will.

“I thought we did that to a tee, the game plan worked really well.

“We have talked often about improving our away form which at times hasn’t been the greatest this season.”

Meanwhile, North End have loaned young midfielder Jack Baxter to Clitheroe for the rest of the season.

Baxter, 19, played for the Blues on Tuesday at Pontefract Collieries but that will not now officially count as his debut.

The game was abandoned after 87 minutes because of a floodlight failure.

Baxter has been on the bench a handful of times for PNE but has not come on.