Daniel Johnson nominated for Championship for player of the month award after fine form for Preston North End
Daniel Johnson’s resurgence in the Preston side has been recognised with a nomination for the Championship player of the month award.
The attacking midfielder is on a four-man shortlist for the Sky Bet honour and he will find out tomorrow if he has won it.
Johnson, 26, is up against Charlton striker Lyle Taylor, Ollie Watkins – who will be at Deepdale with Brentford on Saturday – and Swansea City defender Mike van der Hoorn.
The award organisers have shortlisted Johnson for his goals and assists from the No.10 role in August.
He certainly gave North End a different dynamic after coming into the side.
His nomination said: “Four goals and three assists in six games offer proof that Preston manager Alex Neil was right to hand Johnson a more advanced role. His passes now have more impact as he lends creativity to the PNE attack.”
Johnson was an unused substitute on the opening day of the season at Millwall.
That 1-0 defeat prompted Neil to make changes for the visit of Wigan the next week, Johnson handed the No.10 role in preference to Alan Browne.
He claimed two assists that afternoon before scoring a penalty in the following game at Swansea.
Johnson was to open the scoring in the 3-1 win against Stoke, then netted twice from the spot as PNE beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.
At Nottingham Forest before the international break he was in the advanced role again.
It is likely that Johnson will play as the No.10 for the visit of Brentford.
The role is clearly giving him more attacking freedom and that has been significant in North End’s solid start to the campaign. As the return to action nears after the international break, there will be selection issues for Neil to ponder.
He will hope some of the squad’s injuries have cleared up during the break, notably Sean Maguire, Tom Barkhuizen, Darnell Fisher and Andrew Hughes.
Maguire missed the Forest game on August 31 having been hit in the eye by a ball during a training session
The impact caused the blood pressure in the eye to rise to a higher level than in the other one.
Barkhuizen was another not to make the Forest trip having pulled up with a groin injury in the penalty shootout win over Hull.
Right-back Fisher missed out with a hip flexor problem, his absence and that of Tom Clarke meaning Alan Browne had to play in defence.
On the other side of the pitch, left-back Hughes has not played since the Wigan game on August 10 due to a damaged hamstring.