PNE ace up for award

Daniel Johnson is shortlisted for League One player of the month
Daniel Johnson is shortlisted for League One player of the month
  • Johnson nominated for March gong
  • One-in-two goal ratio from midfield
  • Daniel’s a big hit with fans
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Midfield maestro Daniel Johnson’s stunning impact at Preston North End has been recognised with a nomination for League One’s player the month award.

The £50,000 signing from Aston Villa is on a four-man shortlist for the March honour.

Every time Daniel gets the ball on that left foot, you expect something special to happen

Johnson has a one-in-two scoring ratio in PNE colours, finding the net for a seventh time in his 14th appearance at Bradford on Easter Monday.

He is a firm favourite with the Lilywhites fans who have come up with the ‘50 grand’ song in recognition of the bargain price which North End paid for him.

The 22-year-old is nominated with Aden Flint (Bristol City), Billy Clarke (Bradford) and Ian Henderson (Rochdale) for the award, with the result announced on Friday morning.

A spokesman for award sponsors Sky Bet, said: “Three game-changing goals from central midfield, including a sumptuous strike at Fleetwood, tell only part of the story of his dynamic month.

“Driving forward at every opportunity, he created space aplenty and chances for others.”

His three goals in March came against Doncaster, Peterborough and Fleetwood.

The month before, he found the net against Scunthorpe, Walsall and Oldham.

Johnson’s goal at Bradford was a superb finish into the far top corner, and built on the lead given to them by Paul Gallagher.

North End manager Simon Grayson told the Evening Post: “Every time Daniel gets the ball on that left foot, you expect something special to happen.

“The way he bent the ball into the far corner at Bradford the other day was absolutely fantastic and gave us a good cushion in the game.”

Grayson, who was League One’s manager of the month in February, has missed out on a nomination for March’s award.

The four-man shortlist for that is Steve Cotterill – who brings his Bristol City side to Deepdale on Saturday – Keith Hill (Rochdale), Lee Johnson (Barnsley) and Dave Robertson (Peterborough).

Meanwhile, Grayson has praised the contribution of Chris Humphrey to Preston’s promotion push.

The Jamaica international was on target with the third goal at Bradford, the reward for a hard-working display at right wing-back.

Said Grayson: Chris really deserved his goal – he works his socks off for the team.

“He got that little bit of luck with the deflection but take nothing away from him.

“Wing-back is one of the hardest positions to play.

“You are expected to get up the pitch to support the strikers and then get back to do the defensive side of the game.

“Chris is fantastic in that respect – he deserves his place in the team.

“Sometimes he doesn’t get in because we choose to play a different system but on those occasions he has still contributed from the bench.”

Humphrey is PNE’s joint second appearance-maker this season, he and skipper Tom Clarke having played 49 times in all competitions.

At the top of the list is Paul Gallagher with 50 appearances, 49 of those being starts.